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Us 48, Inouye 32, Washington 26, America 18, U.s. 16, Wisconsin 14, Illinois 12, Pennsylvania 12, Lieberman 11, United States Senate 11, Hawaii 11, Arizona 9, Hungary 9, Fema 9, Missouri 8, Jon Kyl 8, Mr. Durbin 8, Sandy 8, Lake Michigan 8, Kohl 8,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    December 20, 2012
    12:00 - 5:00pm EST  

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minds of the american people with these ideas, i know that we can engage them and enlist them to convince all of you here to set the politics aside, the parties aside, and to adopt those ideas that work. my hope is to make conservative ideas so pervasive, so persuasive across the country that politicians of all parties have to embrace those ideas to be elected. i'm not leaving here to be an advocate for the republican party. i hope that we can create more common ground between the political parties by showing everyone that ideas that work for their constituents and our constituents are right in front of our faces if we're willing to set aside the pressure groups, the special interests, and just
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focus on what's working. over the next few years, we're going to see more and more states doing the right things becoming more prosperous, creating a better environment for people to live and work and we're going to see some states that will continue to raise taxes, to create more regulations, make it harder to start businesses and to be profitable in those states. they will continue to lose businesses and people. and many of those states will come here to washington and ask us to help them out from their bad decisions. i hope at that time that we can show by pointing at these states and these right ideas that we know the solutions at the state level and that we also know that we can change how we think here at the federal level and make our country work a lot better. i i leave here with a lot of respect for my colleagues. i know my democrat colleagues
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believe with conviction their ideas. and i know my republican colleagues do too. but i hope we can look at the facts. i hope we can look at the real world. i hope we can look at what's working and set aside the politics and realize what really makes this country great and strong is when we move dollars and decisions out of washington back to people and communities and to states, that it works. not for 2% but for 100% of americans. i feel like our customers in the senate, at the heritage foundation, or wherever we go, are 100% of americans who these ideas can work for to build a better future and a stronger america. and i'm not leaving the fight. i hope to raise my game at my next phase. and i hope that i can work more closely with all of you, as well
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as governors and state legislators, to take these ideas and convince americans as well as their legislators, their senators, and their congressmen that we have the solutions all around them -- all around us if we have the courage to adopt -- to adopt them. i thank you for this opportunity to serve. certainly i'll miss my relationships. but i hope that we'll have the opportunity to continue to work together for what is the greatest country in the world and what i believe a generation before us that could be the greatest and most prosperous generation of all if we just look to the ideas that work. thank you, madam president. and i thank my colleagues. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. mccain: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be suspended and that i be recognized to address the senate as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: one of the most overused quotes about this town is harry truman's observation years ago that if you want a friend in washington, go out and get a dog. i spent a good many years here now, and i suppose there is a little truth in that advice. some washington friendships can be a little like temporary alliances between nations that for a brief period of time have mutual interests or enemies, but not all friendships here are like that. not all of them. today i say a former fond farewell to a departing colleague whose friendship has been and will always be one of the greatest treasures of my
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life. my friend senator joe lieberman is retiring from the senate after 24 years of service. of course, he is not leaving nor will he ever leave the affections of those of us who have come to value him so highly as a statesman and as a friend. but we won't see him around the place as much. his office won't be near ours. we won't hear him speak from this floor or in committee hearings. we won't have the daily benefit of his counsel and his example. we will miss his contributions to the senate. we will miss his good humor, his wisdom and his sincerity, especially in those moments when we find ourselves again wrapped around the axle of partisan and politics that has taken over the country's interests. when tempers are frayed and we are consumed with putting each
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other at a disadvantage. that's when we will miss him the most. on those occasions when joe's thoughtfulness and patriotism stirred him to remind us again, as he did earlier this week, that the public trust and not our party's fortunes is our most important responsibility. joe's presence, his wit, his courtesy and kindness have improved the conviviality of our institution, but more than that, he has set us an example that i think our constituents surely wish more of us would emulate. it's his conscience and devotion to america, not his party affiliation that has inspired his work here. he has been a very accomplished legislator and a recognized leader on national security issues. he is a nationally prominent politician, majority leader in the state senate, the attorney general of the state of connecticut, elected to the united states senate four times,
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a vice-presidential nominee in the year 2000, a candidate for president, and i should probably add nearly a nominee for vice president again. that he managed to achieve such prominence while being the least partisan politician i know is a credit to his character and to the exemplary quality of his public service and to the public's too often frustrated desire for leaders who seek office to do something, not just to be someone. he has been a tireless advocate for the rights of the oppressed, the misfortuneate, the disenfranchised. tireless, too, in his concern for the security of the united states, for the strength of our alliances, the excellence of our armed forces and the general progress of our values. he came here to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly
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with his god. it's hard to find anyone here who doesn't like and admire joe. he's impossible to dislike, even if you only know him a little. most of his detractors seem to be people who don't know him and who tend to view people very strictly through the perspectives of their ideology and partisan identity. the only thing to resent about joe lieberman is that he is so damned considerate of everyone that you can find yourself feeling a little ashamed when he catches you raising your voice to someone or behaving in other ways that fall short of his unfailing graciousness. he isn't an easy example to emulate. i have fallen short of his standard more often than i care to concede, but i know as i suspect most of us know that our constituents deserve and our country needs more public
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officials who keep their priorities in the right order as joe always has and who offer their respect for their colleagues without expecting anything in return but your respect. we spent a lot of time together, joe and i have. we have traveled many thousands of miles together. we have attended scores of international conferences together, met with dozens of world leaders, with human rights activists and the occasional auto crat. we have visited war zones, shared the experience with equal parts gratitude and awe of talking with and learning from the americans who risk everything so that the rest of us may be secure in our freedom. i have been able to study joe at close quarters, and he's never failed to impress me as a dedicated public servant, a loyal friend, a considerate gentleman, a kind soul and very
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good company. i have also been privileged to witness the sincerity of his faith. i have woken in the middle of the night on a long plane ride to find joe in his prayer shawl talking to the god he tries very hard to serve faithfully every day. i have witnessed lengths he goes to to always keep the sabbath, and occasionally i have even filled in for him. i have enjoyed every minute of our travels together. he is just a quality human being, and time spent in his company is never wasted. i have worked with joe on many issues and opposed him on more than a few, but i have always been just as impressed by him when we disagree as i am when we agree. he's always the same -- good natured, gracious and intent on doing his best by the people who sent him here and the country he loves.
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he is leaving the senate, and i'm going to miss him here a lot, but i doubt any of the many friends he has made here will let him stray far from our attention. we will still rely on his wise counsel and warm friendship. i know i will. i hope we're not done traveling together. i hope to see him in other conferences and meetings abroad. i want to go back on the road and learn from him, just pretend he hasn't left the place that brought us together. he's as fine a friend as i have ever had, and irreplaceable in my life, and i cannot let him go. thank you, joe, for all you've done for me, for your many kindnesses, your counsel, your company and for teaching me how to be a better human being. i'll see you again soon. i yield the floor. mr. barrasso: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming.
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mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. madam president, for the past several weeks, i have come to the floor to talk about the fiscal cliff and the threat that it poses to our economy and to our nation. as the deadline nears, the fiscal cliff has caused a lot of concern and a lot of uncertainty around the country, and it appears that too many people in washington just aren't serious about real solutions to get us back on solid economic ground. the white house and democrats in the senate are still not focused on spending cuts. they continue ignoring the real drivers of washington's debt. we know what they are. they are out-of-control entitlement programs, social security, medicare and medicaid. until we find a way to save and strengthen these programs, no amount of tax revenue will be able to match the increase in entitlement spending. according to the latest numbers from the congressional budget office, the problem is actually
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getting worse. in its monthly budget review for december, the congressional budget office said that the budget deficit for just the first two months of this fiscal year was already $292 billion. and when you take a look at that and compare this pace, well, we will record our fifth straight year of a trillion-dollar deficit. in just october and november alone, which are the first two months of this fiscal year, we are already $300 billion in the red. total outlays for those two months were $638 billion. now, that's an increase of almost 4% over the same period a year ago. this increase in spending is much faster than the growth that we're seeing in our economy. defense spending is actually down about 2% from the first two months of last year. well, that may be the lone bright spot in the c.b.o.'s
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numbers. the problem is entitlement spending is growing even faster than the rest of government. social security spending is up 6.8%. medicare is up 8.1%. medicaid is up over 9% compared to last year. those are huge increases in just one year and they point straight to the problem we face. those three programs by themselves account for 43% of all washington spending for the first two months of this fiscal year. some democrats say that we can't take steps to save and to protect these important programs for future generations. they say we can't even discuss fixing this out-of-control spending as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. well, that's unrealistic and it's unsustainable. without reform, we're facing the kinds of increases that we see on this chart, but getting worse next month and the month after that and then again beyond.
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without reform, it will keep getting worse until we drive our economy into the ground just trying to pay for these programs. now, there is a potential solution, and one potential solution or at least something that would help would be to adjust how we calculate entitlement benefits for inflation. as it stands now, the bureau of labor statistics calculates two different versions of what's called the consumer price index. both of these assume that a consumer buys a certain basket of goods and then they track the total cost of that basket. a family buys a certain amount of gasoline, so much milk, so many muffins to have for breakfast and so forth. the first is called the cpiu. it's a headline measure. it's what we read in the papers. it looks like what all urban consumers spend on that market basket of goods.
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that's why they call it the cpiu. u is for urban. it's a number we use for tax brackets for inflation. that's how we decide what those brackets will be. the second way they measure the c.p.i. is called the cpiw. that includes urban wage earners. the w is for wage earners, not all consumers. it also includes clerical workers and a few other professions. so it excludes anyone who is unemployed, retired, self-employed and many other occupations. this is what the government uses for the cost of living adjustment to federal benefits like social security. so here you have one that they use to calculate the c.p.i. for tax purposes and the tax brackets, and the other different is what they use for social security benefits. it is very complicated. both of these systems have several problems and they both overestimate inflation. first they assume that consumers purchase the exact same basket
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of goods regardless of what happens to prices. so if the price of something like muffins goes up, the c.p.i. doesn't account for some consumers who will switch to toast or have something else for breakfast. all american families understand that people change their behavior when prices change. our understanding of inflation should take that into account. another problem is that these versions of c.p.i. can't easily deal with the introduction of new products into the market, so how does something like the ipod affect consumer spending? how do we account for that when the ipod wasn't in the market basket of goods before? at what point do we start including cell phone bills or internet access into a family's monthly expenses? it's not happening now, madam president. so we have got these two different ways to measure inflation, and they both have multiple flaws. as i have said, the flaws tend to overestimate the inflation that people actually experience when they go to the store and
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they pay their bills each month. you can see how this could be a problem over time. when the government increases what it pays based on an exaggerated inflation adjustment, the impact continues to accelerate. if we give someone an extra dollar to make up for inflation but their expenses only went up 75 cents, well, pretty soon all those quarters add up. it's bad fiscal policy and we actually can't afford it anymore. the cost-of-living adjustment should track as closely as possible to the actual cost of living. to address those flaws, what the bureau of labor statistics has done is actually come up with a new and an improved measure for inflation. it's called chained c.p.i. and it accounts for those changes in consumer choices and for new products and new technology. if we use this version of c.p.i. to adjust federal benefits and tax brackets, c.b.o. estimates that we would actually reduce
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the deficit by $200 billion over the next ten years. over $200 billion in the next ten years. that's the benefit of not overcompensating for inflation. the savings would be small at first but over time they would grow until ten years from now, we would have saved more than $200 billion. the savings get even bigger beyond the ten years shown here on the chart and that's because of the impact of compounding. now, with budget deficits of a trillion dollars and more this year, last year, the year before, five years in a row, this one change to the inflation index, well, it won't wipe out the deficit on its own but it's a start. and it is something that we can do now and that will pay big dividends down the road. now, of course this isn't the only option. there are other ways to slow the increase in social security and make sure it's still around to take care of seniors in the
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future. we need to do something. setting the cost-of-living adjustment using chained c.p.i. is worth considering. now, even some democrats have been open to this idea. according to bob woodward's book, "the price of politics," the white house was willing to look at changing the c.i.p. as part of the so-called grand bargain last year. the simpson-bowles commission included it as one of their solutions. the president himself reportedly had a version of chained c.i.p. in his latest offer on the fiscal cliff. madam president, that's progress. it shows that some democrats are open to serious ideas and real solutions. because we need to do something to relieve the burden of washington's crushing debt, this is something to consider. more revenue is going to have to be part of the solution and republicans have said so. substantial cuts in spending must be part of the answer as well washington does noav problem, ia
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spending problem. that problem is centered on entitlement programs that are growing far too quickly. switching to the chained c.p.i. is a reasonable first step that we could take now to start to rein in washington's out-of-control spending so that we can save and protect social security and medicare for generations to come. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. casey: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: madam president, i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, madam president. i rise today to talk about the farm bill, which is typically a five-year bill, and we hope we can achieve that once again. we know that the senate passed the farm bill just a number of
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months ago, actually in june, and the house has yet to bring the bill to the floor of the united states house of representatives. there's really no excuse for that. it doesn't make any sense. first and foremost because of the -- the impact that this bill has on our economy, our farm families, our -- the agricultural sector of our economy, and what it also means to make sure that folks have enough to eat, the nutrition, the antihunger and nutrition strategies in the farm bill as well. but, unfortunately, the house has not passed it. the -- the leadership in the house i think should consider why we need the farm bill to pass. and they should also consider what happened here in the sena senate. we had a very bipartisan process. lots of amendments, plenty of debate but not -- not some of the harsh debate that we've seen in the context of other issues.
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and it worked very well. not everyone got everything they wanted. folks were willing to work together and compromise. but we got a bipartisan vote in the senate and that's hard to achieve, even on something as important as the farm bill. so i want to commend the work that was done at that time by our chairwoman, senator stabenow of the state of michigan. she led the fight working with senator roberts. and they worked together not just on the substance but worked together in a manner that allowed it to be bipartisan. i've made it a priority in my work representing the people of pennsylvania to keep pennsylvania's agricultural industry and our rural economy strong to support families in pennsylvania. agriculture is our state's largest industry. pennsylvania's farm gain value -- which is another way of describing cash receipts to growers -- and the last number
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that we have, which is a 2010 number, was $5.7 billion. a lot of people who probably haven't spent much time in pennsylvania think of it as a -- a state of big cities and small towns but they may miss the -- the substantial agricultural economy that we have. agribusiness in our state is a $46.4 billion industry. 17.5% of pennsylvanians are employed in the so-called food and fiber system. and one of the questions we have to ask is: what does this all mean? well, i think it certainly means that at least we need a five-year farm bill, not -- not a short-term farm bill. we do too much of that around here on -- on other areas of public policy. we should do what we've always done in the senate long before i got here, passing five-year bills with regard to the farm bill. it does create economic
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opportunities in rural areas. it sustains the consumers and businesses that rely upon our rural economy. the senate-passed farm bill would reduce the deficit by approximately $23 billion through the elimination of some subsidies, the consolidation of programs, and -- and producing greater efficiencies in the delivery mechanisms in programs. now, we're having a big debate about the end of the year and the fiscal challenges we have, and we have those debates, you have to come to the table with deficit reducers, ways to reduce deficit and debt. the farm bill, passible of the far --passage of the farm bill d be in furtherance of that goal, a $23 billion reduction in the deficit. a short-term extension wouldn't provide the same reforms nor would a short-term extension provide the cost savings. when we consider what farmers
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and farm families have to do everyday, when they have to milk cows, would that our dairy farmers do so well and d everyd, they have to just do their job and sometimes they wonder about congress, when they know that we have a job to do and it doesn't get executed. we should follow their example and do our job, and the house can lead on this because it's in their court, so to speak, right now by reauthorizing the farm bill in a responsible way that helps contribute to deficit reduction. i mentioned dairy farmers. in terms of our agricultural economy in pennsylvania, dairy is the largest sector of that so dairy is the largest sector of the biggest part of the pennsylvania economy, which is agriculture. the industry generates more than $1.5 billion in cash -- cash receipts, represents about 42% of our total agricultural receipts. dairy farmers deserve the best
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program possible. the senate bill contains many improvements that i support. but right now, dairy farmers don't have any program to manage their risks in a time of low prices. and come the 1st of january, the department of agriculture will be obligated to implement for dairy products what we call permanent law -- "permanent law." and this -- what this means is that prices farmers receive can almost double but it also means higher costs to the government and consumers as we -- as well as longer-term risks of lower consumer demand and increased imports. so we need to make sure that we take steps now to prevent some of the consequences of inaction, some of the consequences of the house not moving a five-year farm bill through their process in the house.
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there's so many other important items. i'll just rattle off a few of them in the context of having a five-year farm bill, not something less. in the senate-passed bill, we worked to address the unique concerns of specialty crop farmers, organic farmers, and -- and new farmers, so-called beginning farmers and we did so in a bipartisan way. second, i'm committed -- and i know a lot of folks in this chamber are committed -- to rural communities, those in my state of pennsylvania are -- are too numerous to count, the number of communities that are considered rural. part of that effort that i have to undertake, and all of us should, is to support rural development programs that provide access to capital for rural businesses to provide economic opportunities and create jobs. we have people take the floor here all the time that talk about small business or businesses in general and that congress isn't responsive enough to businesses. and often that's true.
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and i would hope that they would walk across and give the same speech to their -- their friends in the house, that one of the best ways to help rural businesses is to pass the five-year farm bill right away. we know that farmers are the original stewards of the land and continue to lead the charge and n protecting our natural resources. i believe the voluntary conservation programs in the farm bill provide important tools to help farmers comply with federal and state regulations while keeping farmers in business. conservation programs are extremely -- an extremely important resource for many pennsylvania farmers. we have a great tradition in our state of conservation. this bill would -- would enhance and build upon that great record of conservation in pennsylvania and across the country. we also wanted to focus on helping those who don't have enough to eat and making sure that we're doing everything possible to enhance or improve
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nutrition by the many strategies in the farm bill that involve nutrition. there's no better opportunity to strengthen nutrition policy in the programs -- nutrition programs than through a well crafted five-year farm bill. the people of pennsylvania, and i think folks across the country, deserve certainty, certainty, and a five-year farm bill would help us move in that direction. if the house leadership is serious about a prosperous future for the country, the house must pass the five-year farm bill right now. i urge the house leadership to appreciate the significance of having a five-year bill for farmers, for consumers, and families. and if the senate, as it has done, can pass a bipartisan farm bill like we did, i have no doubt -- no doubt whatever -- that the house can do the same. madam president, i would yield the floor. a senator: madam president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. a senator: thank you, madam president. madam president, i want to talk about the disaster supplemental today, but before i do that, i want to spend just a minute talking about the senator from hawaii, mr. inouye. mr. blunt: we were at the service this morning in the rotunda of the capitol where only 31 americans in the history of the country have been honored by that opportunity for americans to think about them as they lay in the center of the capitol on the catapult that was used -- ca -- catafalk that wasd by president lincoln and others. i was able to place the wreath at the capitol when rosa parks was in that same place, and i just want to say, madam president, how honored i
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was to get to serve in the senate with mr. inouye. he really not only was a hero in so many ways but i think connected all of us to the greatest generation, as tom brokaw titled that generation, and there was no better example of that quiet, purposeful, heroic dedication to service than the senator from hawaii, the president pro tempore, the chairman of the appropriation committees, but most of all just the great american. last year when school was out, my -- my youngest son charlie was here for lunch and -- in the senate dining room. he saw mr. inouye, and he had seen ken byrne's world war ii documentary where the senator was being -- being recognized. and he said, i saw him in the
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documentary on world war ii. and i asked senator inouye to come over and speak to charlie and his friends, and he did. and they were so thrilled to meet him. and then when that was over and the senator walked away, charlie then told a story from the documentary where -- who -- which he only seen only once, and it had been a month before -- and he was seven -- but he said during the war, he captured a german soldier and the german soldier reached in his pocket and he thought he was going for a weapon so he knocked him down, and as he fell down, the german soldier's hand, a bunch of pictures fell out and at that time the mung daniel inouye picked up the pictures and they were of the man's family. and charlie repeated, he said he saw the pictures and he said he's a man just like me. and that greatness of that moment, his courageous acts later in the war, his
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leadership, as i would be at the appropriations committee and would look down the table and see him sitting there in the middle of the table and more than once thought when that man leaves, there really won't be anyone quite like him to take his place. and i would just say, madam president, to you and my colleagues, how honored i was to serve with him and how proud i am of the great and dedicated service he gave to the country. i hope we can all learn from his example. let me spend a few minutes talking about the current disaster supplemental. i believe when disasters exceed the ability of communities and states to deal with them, that the federal government should help. that's been something that we have done for some time now. i think there is some problems with the system in the way we respond, unfortunately, in
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missouri we've had too many opportunities in recent years to have experience with disasters and responses and on occasion, they have been disasters we could deal with and actually i've told people where i live, no, this is a disaster, it's a bad thing, the torpedo hit, it didn't stay -- tornado hit, it didn't stay for lopping, we can deal with it ourselves. i said that last year at an event in brantopson, missouri -- branson, missouri. but we had this devastating tornado in joplin, missouri, following two different floods in the same time period and i said we can't deal with this on our own, we need others to come in and help others just like we'll help them when they have a big problem and that's what this supplemental should be doing. it's my view, madam president, that the $60 billion supplemental is not the best way to deal with this at this time. i'd rather see us deal with this when we know more about the
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money that we need to spend, but we've got a march 27 deadline when the continuing resolution runs out. one of the questions i'd have is how much money do we need between now and then? there are others who might say, and i could possibly be persuaded, let's at least go until the end of the fiscal year. how much money do we need between now and september 30? but this goes beyond that. and when we had the katrina disaster a few years ago, we did at least three supplementals for katrina. eventually we may spend more than $60.4 billion, but my view would be there are probably better ways to approach this than spending -- than appropriating that money right now as opposed to appropriating it later when we really know what it's for. this bill should not be viewed, either, as an opportunity for members of congress to fundamentally alter the disaster
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funding programs. there's a legislative process to do that. it shouldn't be the disaster funding bill that we use to change the law. we should have that debate at another time, and i hope we will. this, in the past, then, under the stafford act which was disaster funding act, we've limited what we could do just beyond replacing what the disaster took away. and we've added -- we've had a little too it, there was an argument you could make, well, if the disaster destroys this and there's a way to put it back within reason that makes it harder to destroy, we should do that. in fact, there was a cap, i think 7.5% was the most you could spend for preventing future things from happening, mitigation. this -- this spends about four times that much, and it changes the law permanently to allow it to spend four times that much.
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that is not the way this should be done. and my guess is before we're done, it will not be the way it is done. for too long i think we have not looked at how we spend money on disasters. we've not only worked in the recent times within the budget control act -- we had, as i said, disasters in missouri in 2011, we had two major floods, we had an e-5 tornado that devastated the sizable community of joplin. i was just there last week and one of the temporary middle schools, because the high school was destroyed, the vocational school was destroyed, the parochial school was destroyed, i think six elementary schools. i don't mean they were damaged. they were destroyed. and to replace those, we are
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able to figure out how to work within the budget control act and we even put some disaster funding in the regular appropriations bills as it became obvious what was going to be necessary beyond what we immediately knew as a country was necessary. i think we could do that here. i was so concerned by what happened in 2011 that i asked the general accounting office to evaluate several things. the disaster declaration process, the standards that fema use toes make a declaration -- uses to make a declaration, fema's management of its disaster relief fund, and the overall costs that were associated with disasters at the state, local, and federal level, and without objection, madam president, i'd like to put that -- that g.a.o. report in the record as part of this discussion. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blunt: in the response, in the report that we'll file, the
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g.a.o. said a third of the disasters over the last eight years had cost the federal government less than $10 million. and they also said that the level of loss necessary to declare a disaster hadn't changed in a couple of decades. so my concern was, and the report leveled it out, that we do have a big disaster like sandy, we've almost always spent all the money because it was pretty easy to have a governor ask for a disaster and the president to declare it, and then the money is gone. fema primarily relied on the per capita damage indicator as the criteria rather than whether or not the local community really had the resources to deal with this on its own. there was no specific criteria in fema to decide at what point we paid various percentages up to 100% coming from the federal government, and the fema
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administrative costs from 1989 to 2011 had doubled. it had increased from 9% of every disaster to an average of 18% of every disaster. so g.a.o. recommended that we look -- do several things. that fema develop a methodology to more accurately assess what a jurisdiction was able to do, that we develop criteria to know when the federal government should accept all of the obligation, 100% of the adjusted cost, and that we implement new goals to track why these costs of administering disasters were going up so dramatically. so hopefully we can do that, we can look at the law at the right time in the right way. i know my colleague, senator coats, has led the way to propose an alternative to the $600 billion supplemental bill, his alternative of about $24
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billion would provide the money necessary to be spent by good calculations, i think, between now and the end of march. this could be the right step for us to take right now. i suspect as we deal with the house of representatives, it ultimately will be closer to the step we take. i just think we shouldn't use this bill as a time to change the law so we can spend money in ways that the law currently doesn't allow. we shouldn't use this bill to speculate on what costs will be when we will know what those are and at the same time i understand and appreciate that this is a disaster where we should step in. we absolutely should step in and help people and the communities devastated by this disaster get back on their feet. we should do that. i'm going to do everything i can to see that we do that. i just hope we do it in the best
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possible way instead of use this as an opportunity to do things that don't really have anything to do with sandy but may have some other goals that should be achieved in a more appropriate way. and with that, i'd yield back and i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. warner: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: madam president, i ask the proceedings under the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: ubgs. mr. warner: i have five unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: madam president, i rise today to talk about a subject that i know i and the presiding officer and a number of our colleagues have spent an enormous amount of time on, and
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that is the challenges of our fiscal circumstances. before i start, i want to make two comments. one, i want to join so many of my other colleagues who have come to the floor in the last few days to celebrate the legacy of our departed colleague, senator inouye. i didn't know him as long as many of our colleagues did, but in the four years that i served in this body, he was truly someone who was always a gentleman and represented the best of what i think the united states senate is all about. madam president, i am one of, again -- i want to, again, as i mentioned, spend today to talk about the need of our country to have a balanced deal on the debt and deficit and to avoid the fiscal cliff. we've seen these conversations going back and forth between the president and the speaker,
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hoping -- i think speaking for many -- that they would reach some deal. i am very disappointed with the actions, recent actions with the speaker with his so-called plan "b," a plan "b" that would do nothing to make a significant dent in the fiscal challenges. and i think many of us on our side and i imagine many on the republican side will realize that that is not an approach that will get us where we need to go. there have been many of us in this body who have been working on this issue for a number of years. i think many of the american public is growing fairly tired of hearing about the fiscal cliff and why this has all come about and why all of a sudden are we only now focusing on this issue. the fact is our nation has been on an unsustainable fiscal path for some time. we are currently $16 trillion in
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debt. and every day that we do nothing, we add $3 billion in debt to that total. debt that at one point will have to be paid by our grandchildren tass' gotten large -- as it's gotten larger by our children. in reality those of us in this body have to deal with right now and start paying. as we look at this debt there is nothing that is self-correcting. time alone will not solve this problem. what i hear around virginia, and i'm sure the presiding officer hears around missouri, how did we get here and get to be in such a traumatic, difficult position in the last 12 years, when 12 years ago our country was looking at surpluses? i think as a former business guy, looking at what our nation has done -- and candidly, both parties have been responsible for this -- it's not too hard to
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understand why we are in such a deep hole. over the last 12 years we've done two things, or we've done a series of things that have put us in an unsustainable position. on the revenue side, we cut taxes by $4.5 trillion over ten years. largest tax cuts in american history. if we had simply cut taxes $4.5 trillion over ten years and done nothing else on the spending side, we might have been able to sustain that. but at the very time that we took this dramatically decrease in our revenues, we did five things on the spending side, things that were for the most part supported bipartisan that make our financial situation unsustainable. first, in the aftermath of 9/11, we doubled our defense spending. second, also in the aftermath of
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the challenges we face in a very dangerous world after 9/11, we created a whole new category of government spending called homeland security. again, much of it necessary. third, we did something that in american history was unprecedented. our nation went to war not once, but twice without asking any americans any level of sacrifice beyond our military and their families, and the cost of those wars didn't even -- normally go through an appropriations process. they all went on the credit card. fourth, we recognize in our countries that our parents and grandparents were having increasing burdens with the high cost of prescription drugs, so we created a brand-new entitlement program, bipartisan supported, medicare part-d. but again, didn't pay a dime for it. and on top of all that -- and this is one of the biggest
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challenges we have, and this is actually a blessing. we are all living a lot longer than anyone would have anticipated. the guy who originally set 65 as retirement age was bismarck when he was premier of germany in the 1870's. he set it because average life expectancy was mid 50's. now in this country we're blessed to live to an average age of 80. if you're a healthy woman in america today your you're average age 100. so what does this fiscal cliff mean? it means that the gap between our revenues and our spending is clearly unsustainable. we need to find a solution before our unsustainable debt swallows our economy. some folks argue that we don't need a solution now, that we have time and space and we
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should stimulate the economy with more deficit spending. i think an appropriate measure of additional stimulus activities makes some sense. so i do support investing in our economy, in new infrastructure, research and development and workforce investments. as a former business guy, those are characteristics that any strong business would invest in and any strong country would invest in if we're going to grow. but that alone is not enough. and our problems which only continue to accrue and grow over the long term must be dealt with. and just like any large enterprise, the united states government turning it takes time. and the sooner we start that turn, the better. so, as this crisis, as we get into the final days before christmas, we need a real deal now, one that addresses in the long run and starts by phasing in improvements that will start
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to address our problems on the spending side, revenue side and, yes, entitlement side over the course of the next 10, 15 and 20 years. some people look to europe and say austerity there is not working. and i agree. an austerity program that's too quick can only make our problems worse. but i also see parts of europe that said by kicking the can down the road they can ignore their problems. and the only thing worse than austerity is the bond markets forcing a crisis upon your economy, forcing a crisis that would make a divide between spending and revenues more unsustainable. if we wait 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 12 years from now we will be unable to safely deal with these problems. that's why we need a balanced and responsible deal now.
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after the election, many of my colleagues, particularly those on the republican side, have sort of publicly acknowledged that we need new revenue, has to be part of the solution. i believe even some of the numbers the president put forward in terms of revenue goals are too modest in terms of of what is needed to be put back into the revenue stream not to grow the size of government but to simply pay our bills. it is critically important that this new revenue is quantifiable, scorable, and maintains the progressive nature of our tax code. so i, like many on my side, appreciate those on the republican side of their willingness to accept this reality. but at the same time we must acknowledge that every serious bipartisan group that has looked at the issue of our fiscal
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circumstances understands that if we're going to put our fiscal house in order, in addition to achieving additional revenue, we're going to have to find additional places to cut government spending and take on the question of entitlement reform. i understand that many of our entitlement programs are a critical lifeline for our seniors and those who are the most vulnerable among us. but we need to ensure that these programs are able to continue not just for the current beneficiaries, but for our kids and grandkids alike. and we must realize that entitlement reform has to be part of any long-term response to our fiscal challenges. members come to the floor all the time and throw out lots of facts about the challenges around entitlements. i think i just want to cite two
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that shows that while, for example, medicare and social security have been remarkably successful and must be preserved, that the current math around both these programs just doesn't work. and medicare, for example, an average couple over their lifetime would pay in about $113,000 in payroll taxes. now, as they hit on retirement, go on makers they would receive back -- go on medicare, they would receive back $380,000 in benefits over their lifetime. obviously, this gap can't be maintained. how we were able to do it for so long? well, for a long, long time in our country, there were a lot more folks working paying in than they were folks taking out. when i was a child, there were 16 people working for every one individual on medicare or social security. today that ratio has gone down
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to three folks working for every one retiree. and in about 10 to 12 years that ratio will go down to two people working for every one person on medicare or social security. again, paying in an average of $114,000 in payroll taxes, taking out $380,000 in health care expenses. folks, the math just doesn't work. so we must have a real balanced and responsible approach to deal not only with this fiscal cliff but to make sure that the promise of medicare, the promise of social security is maintained. but this is where we run into problems, and i fear that we may not get to the solution that we need. knowing that we need both new revenue, that we have to find places to cut spending, and reform our entitlement programs to bring them back into
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sustainability, we have to have a solution that looks at both sides of our balance sheet. and members of both parties must come together to support it. it's remarkable in this body that i think that there are still members who believe there is going to be a republican-only solution to this problem. we see those activities coming sometimes out of the house. but just as there's not going to be a republican-only solution, there is not going to be a democratic-only solution as well. one of the remarkable things that i've found in my four years of service in this senate -- and i think again about the presiding officer, who has taken on so many challenges -- those of us who have tried time and again to work across the iraq, there's very -- across the aisle, there's very little reinforcement effor effort in ts town for members do the right thing. in fact, in many cases, opposite
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forces dominate. a number of stakeholders use scare tactics to preserve their own portion of the status quo. they dress up and use misinformation to scare the american people and run ads against politicians who would dare to break with orthodoxy in order to drive americans apart. now, in the last week or 10 days we've started to just take a look at some of the ads that have started to run in all of the hill press and periodicals. as i get every day, groups come in -- and i'm sure the presiding officer does, too -- and they say, thanks for trying to work on this fiscal cliff problem, thanks for trying to work in a bipartisan way, try to get it done, just don't touch mean. well, one ad we've seen recently, mortgage interest
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deduction, terribly important. anybody says tax reform has to take place, going to generate more revenues. mortgage interest is one of the biggest tax expenditures in our tax code. i like this one. congress: let's fright fraud first! who has not heard that the solution to all of our problems is if we can just get rid of the waste and fraud? well, that may be part of the solution set, but that's not going to solve $16 trillion in debt. next we hear, who cares if medicaid and medicare are cut? well, this is from the hospitals. i know what great job hospitals across virginia, across missouri and across america do. but if we wall off these, where are we going to find the additional resources? next we see -- i see this, "gr
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"graduate medical education." something i want to preserve in this debate as lea we look to ed health care in america. we've got to train more doctors to make sure people can receive the health care they need. but again, don't touch mine. we could go all day with additional posters. here again, the last time, let's not make sure airlines don't pay anymore. let's make sure we avoid sequester. let's make sure we don't touch charitable donations. let's make sure that defense is not touched. well, everyone wants to solve the problem. everyone says, atta boy. but then they turn around and say, atta boy, but don't touch mine. you know, that's not how the real world works. that's not what the founders set up when they created this unique experience in democracy. one of the most remarkable things about the american government was they set up an institution that was slightly
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dysfunctional on purpose -- independent house, independent senate, independent presidency. the only way things got done were if all groups worked together. well, for the past two months, there's been -- not just for the past two months but for many, many months, there's been lots of talk about the forces of divisions and reflectio reflexie ideology. we're tired of these groups that go around saying, sign this pledge, not a dime of new revenue. one that i find most repulsive -- and we've seen and i believe additional revenues are needed. and if there's any deal, they will be part of any deal. the president and speaker have come to an agreement that additional revenue must be part of the deal. but that's not the end of the deal. if we, those of us on the
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departmendemocratic side, say wt an extra trillion dollars of revenue, we can walk away and say we were victorious -- well, if we do that all we're doing is kick the can. if we don't have a deal that is at least a minimum of $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years -- and that is at the low end -- then we will not drive -- start to drive our debt-to-g.d.p. ratio back into a sustainable position. the only way we're going to get there is, yes, counting the cuts that we've already made; yes, looking for additional ref; but also finding additional spending cuts in entitlement reform. the president gets this, and he knows we can't kick the can down the road. and what i think has been remarkable is the president has laid out his plan and his
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vision, he has acknowledged that he has been willing to be open to hard choices, including reforms to our entitlement programs, one of which he has said he would be open to with the appropriate protections, so-called chained c.p.i. but once this was even mentioned, some groups, progressive groups that i'm proud to have the support of, have said that any change and any change to social security or medicare or anything that is as sinister as a chained c.p.i., can't be part of a deal. for these groups, they say any single dollar of what they consider to be a benefit cut in these entitlement programs is unacceptable, even if it helps ensure the sustainability of social security or medicare. this is not a path to a
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successful deal. this is not the path, the kind of compromise and balance that will make sure that we actually do preserve medicare and social security for the long time. i have to say that it's surprising to me when i hear some in my own party who come down and rightfully call out those on the other side who deny the science around climate change, and those are the is hed those are the very same folks who sometimes deny the math around entitlement reform. i'd like to take a moment to talk about this so-called chained c.p.i. chained c.p.i. certified by our official scorekeeper, the congressional budget office, is an alternative measure of inflation that takes into account how people change the mix of products and services
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they buy or substitute as prices change. what does that mean in english? it means that in the old days the way you used to measure how much inflation was taking place was if the price went up, you just wouldn't buy bananas. this says in a more realistic estimation, if the price of bananas goes up, you might instead of buying bananas buy apples. what does that affect? it means the chained c.p.i. provides an unbiased estimate of changes in the cost of living from one month to the next. is it a perfect formula? absolutely not. but there is no perfect formula to measure inflation. what is remarkable about this debate -- and this is just one small piece of any kind of comprehensive reform -- is that experts on the left and right agree that this new measurement formula is more accurate and
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more appropriate, and it does mean that the rate of inflation will be measured as slightly less. it actually says that it will cut the rate of increase by roughly .3%. i've heard members come out heard and say, this will account for changes and dramatic cuts of 10%, 15%, 20%. this is cuts of .3%. now, who supports this so-called chained c.p.i.? it must be only those forces on the right. yes, groups like the heritage foundation and the american enterprise institute have come together and said, that is more accurate measure. what has not been emphasized is that groups that have bonafides on the democratic side that are unquestioned -- the center for american progress, the center on budget and poll priorities, "the
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washington post" editorial board, the president's fiscal commission, the bipartisan policy center -- have all said this ought to be one of the tools that we use as we look at trying to make sure that medicare, social security, and other entitlement programs are reformed and made sustainable. now, why do economists support chained c.p.i. i? because it honors commitment to maintain the purchasing power of spending and revenue policies. it provides savings across the budget -- not just in entitlement programs but across other areas. it also raises revenues. and it contributes meaningfully to the long-term fiscal sustainability of the programs that we want to protect. because across the government we have indexed things to inflati inflation, the tax code, the entitlement programs, all are
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indexed -- their rise and decrease based on inflation. so again, this tool while not perfect, all these groups have said need to be part of any reform. this is not a new idea. i know perhaps on this floor -- but this is an idea that has been discussed, debated, and endorsed by these groups from left to right for over the last ten years. it does, as i mentioned, both increase revenues and lower spending, because, again, it is a more accurate measure of policy adjustments that congress has already said toe said alrea. there are tomorrow some who say, -- there are some who say, what will this do to social security? that is an important part of this conversation. i believe that social security needs tock reformed. and i believe that social security ought to take a separate path from debt and deficit reform. and i understand for many
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seniors social security is a lifeline, and it is, without question, the greatest social program in the history of our country. and well, as legislatorand we, as legislators need protect that program. but what we don't hear from those who advocate for social security is the recognition that social security is on a path to insolvency. if we do nothing about this wonderful program under current law, it will basically run out of money, which will be a 25% across-the-board cut in benefits as early as 2033. and that number, as we continue to grow older, the actuaries coming coming up each year and making it earlier and earlier. now, 2033 sound like a long time away. what it means is these -- some of our folks who work here, if you're 46 years old today, you know, that would mean at age 67
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you would your benefits cut by moore thank a quarter. -- by more than a quarter. unless we act, this is not a self-correcting problem. now, there are other things that we need do around social security such as raising the cap on the a income that's taxed. but those who say putting off questions about social security or medicare to some other day refuse to also recognize the reality that none of this self-corrects and that the sooner we start down the path on reform, the sooner that we can make sure the promise of these programs will last. but again, instead of worrying about the potential of a 25% cut for folks who are 46 years old in social security, they talk about the fact that, yes, that there may be some slight cutback in immediate benefits. not, though, 25%, not 3%, not 1%, but .3% decrease in the amount of increase each year.
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and even with that, there are ways, if we use this tool, to make it more fair and balanced. because we must make sure that we protect the most vulnerable in our society. i was part of a group -- and, again, the presiding officer, i believe, was supportive of, the so-called gang of six, which built on the president's commission on fiscal responsibility, that said if we're going to do something like change c.p.i., we also need to make sure we ensure protections for the most vulnerable, which basically included things like raising the minimum benefit for that bottom 20% of folks on social security. for making sure, as we have our aging population, that those individuals that outlive their pensions, as the fastest-growing group of americans are folks above the age of 85, that they would receive an additional bump-up as well. and we must also recognize, if
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we're looking at something like chained c.p.i., we have special obligations to protect our veterans and least fortunate amongst us. so any use of this tool ought to have special rules and exclusions for veterans and s.s.i. benefits. as i mentioned before, i personally believe that raising the cap on the payroll tax is another part of the tools that we ought to use. but too many of the groups that are attacking this or any other effort to look at a balanced approach of, yes, additional revenue, yes, additional cuts, ask, yes, reforms to our entitlements don't mention that there are ways to mitigate some of these challenges. it's also important to mention with these ideas, at least from my position, every dime of impact the chained c.i.p. would have on social -- c.p.i. would have on social security, those
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savings would have to remain social security to make the program more solvent. but this discussion about chained c.p.i. is just the current flash point. you know, the bigger issue is, how are we going to get to that question of what i believe is, at minimum, a $4 trillion deal? and any budget deal from the speaker and the president i believe will probably contain enough things that everyone will look at it and find a lot to dislike. if not, they probably haven't done their job. and to any single -- to single out any one thing and to be absolutely opposed to a deal, regardless of the other parts of the package, to me would be the height of irresponsibility. and, again, i know there are others who say that this whole debate about the fiscal cliff is really imaginary and simply
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created by politicians. well, i have to acknowledge, as somebody who spent 20 years in business and a number of years now in elective office, i don't know for sure what the effect would be if we go over the cliff and see taxes go up on all americans to see these across-the-board cuts take pla place. but i do know this. if the chance is only 5% or 10% or 15% that going over the cliff would throw economy back into a deep recession, there would be nothing that would rob more americans and hurt our most vulnerable citizens more than being -- having their house go back underwater because of a rise in interest rates, or that potential of a job disappear because an employer decides to end up no longer active, or that unemployment benefits don't get
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extended because we chose to punt rather than deal with this issue. and, again, we go over a cliff, and if the chances are only 10% that this throws us back into a deep recession, unlike in the past, unlike the fiscal crisis of 2008, we don't have extraordinary measures of stimulus or the fed being able to dramatically lower interest rates. so i believe, mr. president, that we do need balanced, responsible, at least $4 trillion deal. a deal, again, that i believe counts the cuts we've already made, that adds additional real revenue. and again, as i mentioned earlier, i think the president has started too low in terms of the amount of revenue we need. we took $4.5 trillion out of the revenue stream over the last ten years. i think to say that putting back at least one-third or 40% of that would be much more appropriate than what is being discussed right now. but it does mean that it's going to make all of us make some hard
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choices about spending and about making sure that the entitlement programs, which have been so successful, are sustained. so i -- in closing, let me just make a few final comments. i believe that any final deal must ask those of us who've done well -- and i've been blessed in this country to do very well -- to pay their fair share. and beyond that, we have to look at a tax reform package that will actually make our tax code simpler, fairer and generate more revenue than even what is being suggested in the current conversation. it means, though, recognizing that you can't solve this problem with budget cuts alone, it means that medicare and other entitlement reform must be serious and part of the conversation so that we honor our commitment not only to those beneficiaries who receive these important benefits now but to make sure that that 20-year-old,
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40-year-old and 50-year-old is going to have those benefits as well. and no matter what we do, we cannot cut and tax our way only out of this problem. it must include a growth agenda. and, finally, as i know the presiding officer has made points time and again, it must contain real protections for the most vulnerable amongst us. the president and the speaker are still working and i'm hopeful they'll get a deal. and we as americans and as legislators owe them the space to make a deal. the opportunity to combine things people on each side might not like in isolation with policies that address these greater concerns. but now is not the time to be against things without knowing the critical details about how and where they'll work. it's not to be about -- it's not time to be confusing the true facts or the actual math
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involved, regardless of which side you belong to. i've spent the last 2 1/2 years in this body trying to work with folks on both sides to get us to a deal. i believe there is nothing that will do more to generate job growth and economic activity than making sure we have a real deal that doesn't kick the can and actually passes muster. i have to acknowledge, at times, i, like i know many of my colleagues, grow very frustrated with the back and forth, and clearly what is going on in the house right now is not a serious effort to address this problem. i see the new chair of the appropriations committee here and i'll wrap up. i want to commend the senator from maryland, my good friend, for her new position. i believe that she will lead us back to a path where we have a regular order to make sure that we appropriately look at how we spend the resources we receive. but we must no longer punt on
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this issue. at moments of greatest frustration -- and there are many for me, as i know there are for many americans as they get tired of hearing about the back and forth and the kabuki dance that's going on right now -- is in moments of greatest frustration, will we get it done? i always fall back on that wonderful winston churchill quote, when churchill said, "you can always count on the americans to do the right thing after they've tried everything else." well, it seems to me in this debate, we've tried everything else. we've accused back and forth, we've been unwilling to recognize the reality of the need for revenues, or the recognition that we have to make sure our entitlement programs are sustainable. i hope and pray as we enter close to this christmas season that our leaders and then all of us from both sides can come together and make sure that we address this issue, which i believe until we address we will
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not be able to address the host of other issues that confront our country. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: mr. president, what is the pending business before the senate? the presiding officer: the pending business is h.r. 1. ms. mikulski: well, mr. president, i rise and ask for three minutes as if to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulskims. mikulski: thanky much, mr. president. i just wanted to come to the floor -- and i know other senators are speaking -- but to say to the rest of my colleagues and to many people who've expressed interest, the democratic caucus has just confirmed me to be the full chair of the united states senate appropriations committee. i take the floor today to announce that with great humility.
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i am filling the footsteps of senator danny inouye, who was, indeed, a giant among men, a war hero, and an advocate for social justice, national security, and really a compassionate government. but, mr. president, i wanted to just say to my colleagues, as i assume this chairmanship, that i look forward to working with each and every member of the united states senate, both within my own caucus and across the aisle, to have a committee that functions on a bipartisan basis. mr. president, the appropriations committee is a constitutionally mandated committee. it is the constitution -- the appropriations committee is governed by the constitution of the united states, by the laws of the land, and by the rules of the united states senate. and under the constitution, the founding fathers said that every
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year there should be a review of the annual federal expenditures. and that's what our committee will do. we will bring forward legislation that will show what are the expenditures of the united states government, what we propose to be ratified by the full senate. we will do it, first of all, on a bipartisan basis. one of the first calls i received when i knew that this honor would come to me as chair was to reach across the aisle to senator richard shelby of alabama, my good friend and colleague, who is now the ranking member on appropriations, to reach out to him, as i did in a phone call - and i say publicly today -- that when we look at how we're going to spend the money and how we are going to really meet our national security needs but our compelling human needs in this country and public investments in our children, in our future,
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and in how to promote our economy, that we need to do it on a bipartisan basis. i want to thank senator shelby becausbecause he assured me of s cooperation to do so. our committee will function in a way that is open, transparent and we wish to follow the regular order. what we want to do in following the regular order is today ask our colleagues to join with us that we move the urgent supplemental in which so many american people are depending on us passing this legislation to meet the needs of individual assistance, to restore homes, lives, and livelihoods. it's going to be a new day in appropriations but we're going to follow old-school values of the men who went before us. danny inouye, ted stev stevens,n who fought in world war ii to defend america.
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they stood on this senate floor to defend the constitution and they spoke up for their states. that's what we're going to do. but i want everyone to know we also will want to ensure our spending reflects our values to protect our country, to protect vulnerable populations, and to also prepare america for the future. i will have more to say about all of this at a later time, but i just wanted to say i take this not as an honor but as a great responsibility. i'm so appreciative of the caucus who confirmed me and i'm very appreciative of the way members of the other side of the aisle also reached out. you know, if we take the time to listen to each other, to respect each other, and listen to the needs of the people, we can really work to get more bang out of the buck, get more value for the dollar. we can have a strong -- a strong
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economy, a safer country. we can be frugal without being heartless, and at the same time we can assure the taxpayers we've heard them. they want us to really do a better job with our spending but at the same time they want to see it in an open process. so, mr. president, today i just wanted to come to the floor to say that. i now yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. the presiding officer: -- mr. mcconnell: i ask proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i rise today to pay tribute to a dear friend and extraordinary public servant.
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senator jon kyl. for the past 18 years it has been my honor to serve alongside john here in the senate and it's been my great privilege to get to know him personally and work with him as closely as i have. jon has built a well-earned reputation as one of the great policy minds of our time. he has an encyclopedic knowledge of domestic and a keen interest in foreign policy. and we all know he's one of the hardest-working members of congress. he's been a leader on his own state's interest and he's emerged as one of the strongest leaders in our entire party opbd issue of nuclear strategy and arms control. jon has explained to an entire generation of republicans president reagan's enduring philosophy of peace through strength, and then applied it. jon has been a zealous proponent
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of strong missile defense, and more than any other senator he helped ensure that the u.s. had a working nuclear arsenal after the cold war had ended, because in his view, a strong america that can deter a threat is always the best avenue to peace. over the past decade jon has applied that same standard to the war on terror, and no one -- no one has worked harder to explain the threat of islamic terrorism or help equip our nation with the tools we need to confront and defend it than jon kyl. not enough thought has been given to the role of nuclear weapons in american foreign policy and how strategy will evolve as our conventional military is drawn down due to a diminishing investment and how nuclear weapons will be employed to support the articulated
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strategic pivot to the asian pacific theater. the senate and the country will be well served by jon's thoughts on these challenges over the coming years. fortunately, he's thought ahead by encouraging others to step into the void after he leaves. throughout his time in washington jon has been guided, as he explained in eloquent detail yesterday, by a profound belief in the expansion of freedom and where that plays out in the public square: growth-oriented economics, social policies that make limited government possible, and any policy that emphasizes a strong and sovereign america. these three pillars have been jon's guideposts and we have all benefited tremendously over the years as a party and as a nation
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from his faithful application and patient explanation of the enduring importance of all three. in short, jon is whip smart and he's a passionate believer and defender of american exceptionalism. but besides all this, he is also just a fantastic individual with a peerless reputation on both sides of the aisle as a man of principle and integrity. i personally benefited from jon's policy mind and advice countless time. jon, i just want to say how grateful i am for your steady hand and wise counsel over the years. i always knew that i could throw jon into the middle of any fight, confident that our team would own the field. he wasn't just prepared, he was
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eager to take on the most thankless task, and he never, never let me down. one suspects that the seeds of jon's wisdom and equanimity were planted during his upbringing in the midwest as a young boy growing up in nebraska and iowa, he learned the value of hard work. his dad led the local chamber of commerce and worked as a high school principal and super superintendent. and eventually he served six terms in congress. it was a stable, happy, middle-class childhood centered on work, family and service. and it laid a solid foundation for jon's later successes. it was very important to dad, jon once said, that we recognize that even though we weren't rich, we still had an obligation to get involved and give back to the country. after graduating from high school, jon enrolled at the
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university of arizona where he was very much the bundle of energy that anybody who has ever walked more than ten feet with him is familiar with. incidentally, i'm told that you don't want to go on a hike with jon unless you are a trained olympian. he hikes up camel back mountain almost every week at his home, and there are two routes. two routes. one somewhat challenging and the other one is like a stair master. jon takes the stair master because it's faster. he climbs up without stopping. and then as soon as he gets to the top, he comes right back down. most people stop to eat an apple or look at the vista. not jon. he just powers right back to the bottom. there's too much work to be done. during his college years, jon got involved in debate, politics and a number of service
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organizations, graduating with honors in 1964. it was also during his college years that jon fell in love with arizona, its red, sunny vistas, big skies and warm, inviting people. and it's there that he fell in love with caryll collins, whom he met at church one sunday and who has been his constant companion and his anchor ever since. and i know jon would agree that without caryll's support, patience and understanding, he never would have been able to accomplish all he has over the years. jon and caryll have been married nearly 50 years. they raised two great kids, kristine and john. sthefpb grandchildren. -- they have seven grandchildren. after college jon went on to earn a law degree from the university of arizona college of law. he must have had great teachers
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because it is hard to imagine anyone who loves the study and application of the law as deeply as jon kyl. jon practiced at a firm in phoenix for about 12 years and was right on the verge of making partner in 1986 when he decided to follow his father's footsteps instead and take a turn toward public service. as one longtime friend described it, jon sat down with caryll, who is really his partner, and decided it was time. he could have been a rich man, but he decided this was more important. jon ran for congress in arizona's fourth district and won handily serving eight terms before winning his senate seat in 1994. now one way to illustrate how hard jon's worked over the years is to look at the coverage he got then versus the coverage he gets now. when he first ran for office, one unfriendly paper called him
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an enigma. but by 2006 the same paper would describe him as a national political figure and one of the five most powerful senators in washington, a man who most everyone says is a hardworking, keenly intelligent, humble, civilized gentleman who seems always to be doing what he believes is best for america. most of us couldn't get that out of our own press secretaries, let alone the home-town paper. but it says everything you need to know about jon kyl. his work ethic is legendary. for 15 years jon labored mostly behind the scenes on one of the most complicated and sensitive issues in arizona politics: settling american indian claims to colorado and hela river water and resolving an intergovernmental dispute about how much money arizona should
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pay for the central arizona project completed in 1993. these were long-standing, thorny legal and political issues in arizona. some thought a settlement was impossible. they didn't know jon well enough. by 2004 he had succeeded in passing the arizona water settlement act simultaneously resolving the outstanding indian lawsuits and resolving the issue of arizona's reimbursement rate to the federal government. according to one political commentator, it was the most far-reaching indian water settlement in history, and it wouldn't have happened without the hard work and keen legal mind of jon kyl. as jon himself put it, it was one of the hardest things i've ever done, but i was in a position to be the catalyst. there wasn't anybody else who could do that water deal, and it had to be done. jon's work on water settlements
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carries a lesson for all of us. like any true leader, he saw the need to do something not just for the folks who elected him but for the generations of arizonans to come. he thought ahead. and now the people of arizona can go about their daily lives without having to worry about water at all for generations to come. it will be a huge part of his legacy, and it went more or less unnoticed by most folks in washington. and that's why jon truly embodies the old baxon popularized by president reagan that there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if you don't mind who gets the credit. he always seems to relish the thank hr-t task. a lot of people don't know this but jon actually volunteered to serve on the super committee.
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at press conferences, jon has even been known to lean up against a wall so others get noticed instead of him, which as we all know, is pretty unthinkable to most of the folks around here. jon's intelligence and personal humility are just two of the reasons he's been so good at per suading people to his view. he persuaded colleagues to oppose president clinton's comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. he's used his immense powers of persuasion literally countless times as minority whip. and he's done all of this without ever offending anybody. he's that rare politician who manages to always stand on principle without ever damaging a relationship. and i mean it when i say that to the degree that i've had any success at all in my role, it has been only because of jon kyl having been my partner, counselor and friend.
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jon always tells folks he's serious because the issues he deals with are serious. and i can't tell you how grateful i am that we've had him for as long as we did and how much i'll miss having jon kyl around when the gavel falls on the 112th congress. now one last point: people who know jon well know that he's a huge, huge nascar fan. he knows the drivers. he knows the lingo. he goes to two big races every year in phoenix, and nothing -- i mean nothing can keep him from going. why do i mention this? well, as a young lawyer, jon used to volunteer to be the lookout guy on the hill around the track. this is a guy who keeps a lookout for oil on the track. his view was that it might not be the most glamorous work but that it was essential to maintain the safety and integrity of the race to have somebody up there on the
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lookout. and i can't think of a better way to sum up his service in washington. jon has been that serious behind-the-scenes legislator who always did what needed to be done. he was happy to do the work while others took the credit. and he was happy to explain any issue to anyone and to provide not only the intellectual explanation for the right policy, but the elbow grease to get it enacted into law. what mattered to jon was the good of the country. he has been a model, model public servant. and jon, i can't tell you how grateful we all are that you were. thank you for everything, my friend. i truly hate to see you go. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: mr. president, i will just say thank you to my leader.
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there is a lot that is enjoyable. some not so enjoyable about serving here in the senate. but my time as whip in particular has been one of the most enjoyable things that i've done both because it's in behalf of our colleagues here, helping to get things done, but also because i've been able to work alongside a great leader in republican leader, mitch mcconnell. i will treasure that always and i am deeply grateful for the comments that you made today. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, before senator kyl leaves the floor, i want to join the republican leader in congratulating you on your public service. you and i came to the congress the same year, 1986 elections. we were part of the 100th congress, and we became friends. and i couldn't agree more with the republican leader about your example of following your convictions in the highest degree of integrity in the work that you have done.
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i had a chance to serve with you on the judiciary committee, and i can tell you, you added greatly to the respect of that committee and our respect for the process and for the rule of law and for civil liberty issues. most recently, the work that you did on the minitky bill. you did not seek the headlines on that legislation but it could not have been done without your direction and your help. i want to thank you for everything that you have done to advance the reputation of the united states senate and public service. standing by your convictions, but yet doing it in a way that we could work together, respecting everyone's right to be heard and our right to work together. you are a model senator, and it's been an honor to serve with you in the united states senate. mr. kyl: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: i just respond by saying thank you very, very much. i would just add one other thing that in this senate family, though we may be of different
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parties, we make good friendships, and it should not go unnoticed that our spouses also make good friendships. and this is a case where my wifr cardin's wife are very good friends, where necessarily draws us closer together. and for that, we should both be grateful as well. i thank my colleague. mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: the senator is absolutely right. i get my best information from myrna on what's going on. so i thank you for your comments. i ask unanimous consent that jacqueline alomentha will in senator udall's office be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the 112th congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, i ask to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, as the senate chair of the helsinki commission, i have a long-standing interest in central europe. for many years, the helsinki commission was one of the loudest and clearest voices to speak on behalf of those oppressed by communism and to call for democracy human rights
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and freedom from soviet repression. it has been a great triumph to see the peoples of this region free from dictatorship. over the past two decades, i have been profoundly heartened as newly freed countries of central europe have joined the united states in nato and have become our partner in advancin advancing -- in advocating for human rights and democracy around the globe. the leadership on those issues may be especially important now as some countries in the middle east undertake transitions, the outcome of which are far from certain. even in europe in the western balkans, there is a crying need for exemplary leadership, not backsliding. americans know from our own history that maintaining democracy and promoting human rights are never a job that are finished. as my friend and our former colleague, tom lantos, said, "the veneer of civilization is paper thin. we are its guardians and we can never rest."
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for some time, i've been concerned about the trajectory of developments in hungary, where the scope and nature of a systematic changes introduced after april 2010 have been the focus of considerable international attention. at the end of november, hungary was back in the headlines when mart november zendowski, a member of the notorious extremist party yovik and also vice chairman of the parliament's foreign affairs committee, suggested that hungarian jews are a threat to hungary's national security. and those in government and parliament should be registered. the ink was barely dry on letters proceed toasting -- protesting those comments when another hungarian member of parliament, bolis lenhart, participated in a public democrat strais last week when he burned -- demonstration last week when he burned an israeli flag. the fact is, these are only the latest scandals to erupt in budapest over the course of this year. in april, just before passover,
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a yovik m.p. gave a speech in parliament waving subtle ant antispeech. after that, yovik was in the tbhiewz it reported that one of its members parliament had requested and received certain fictions from a d.n.a. testing company that his or her blood was free of jewish aroma ancestry. at issue in the face of these -- at issue in the face of these antisemitic and racist phenomenon is the sufficiency of the hungarian government's response and its role to ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law. and the government's response has been, to say the least, wanting. first, it has been a hallmark of this government to focus on blood identity through the extension of hungarian citizenship on pure ethnic bas basis. at the same time, hungarian officials have played fast and loose with questions relating to its wartime responsibilities,
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prompting the u.s. holocaust memorial museum to issue a public statement of concern regarding the rehabilitation of political leaders from world war ii. i am perhaps most alarmed by the government's failure to stand up against the organized threats from yovik. for example, in late august, a mob estimated at 1,000 people terrorized a roma neighborhood taunting the roma families to come out and face the crowd. there were reportedly three members of the parliament from the yovik party participating in that mob and some people were filmed throwing bricks or stones at roma homes. failure to investigate, let alone condemn such acts of intimidation, makes prime minister orbin's recent pledge to protect his compatriots ring hollow. of course, all this takes place in context of fundamental questions about democracy itself in hungary. what we are to make of democracy in hungary when more than 360
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religious organizations are stripped of their registration overnight and all face and now depend on a politicized decision making of the parliament to receive the rights that come with registration. what are we to make of the fact that even after the european commission and hungarian's own consular court have ruled against the mass dismissal of judges in hungary's court packing scheme, that there's still no remedy for any of the dismissed judges? what is the status of media freedom in hungary, let alone the fight against antisemitism if journalists who write about antisemitism face possible sanctions before the court? and what are we to make of hungary's new election framework, which includes many troubling provisions, including a prohibition on campaign ads, on commercial radio, on tv, onerous new voter registration provisions, limit on local election committees which oversee elections? mr. president, i find it hard to imagine that jews, roma or other
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minorities will be safe if freedom of the media and religion, the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary and the checks and balances essential for democracy are not also safeguarded. with that in mind, i will continue to follow the overall trends in hungary and the implications for the region as a whole. mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspend. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, my home county of saint claire in illinois lost a dedicated public servant. merl justice, aptly named "justice," passed away tuesday at the age of 81. he retired only one week earlier after serving eight terms as saint claire country sheriff. i want to tell you, merl justice was a legend. he was funny, he was innovative, he was a creative thinker who was always looking for new and better ways to run his department. above all, he was deeply dedicated to the people he served in saint claire county n. an editorial in the "bellville news democrat," described him as a 6'2" teddy bear with a
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sailor's very cab terry and a bear's -- vocabulary and a bear's heart. sheriff justice got off to a rocky start in life. he was just 19 months old when his dad died, was raised by his grandparents. dropped out of high school in 1953 when the mayor of kahoki, illinois, suggested he join the local police force. that's how the aptly named mr. justice began his nearly 60-year-long career in law enforcement. he started as a part-time officer in kahoki. he earned his g.e.d. and went on to earn an associate's degree at southwestern illinois college in bellville and then a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. he advanced quickly up the ranks and served as police chief for 22 years. he ran for sheriff of saint claire county in 1993 and won, his first run at elective office, i might add. he would be reelected seven times, never losing an election and nobody case caim close. sheriff justice loved his job
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and he loved having fun. one of the most legendary tales of his years as sheriff was when he sent notices to several hundred fugitives from justice telling them they'd won a free pair of sneakers from theificational neighbor shoe store. when the scofflaws turned up to claim their sneakers, the sheriff's department locked them up. the department made over 50 arrests that day and one the next, despite the fact that the prior day's arrests had been widely reported in the news. he closed up the shop with a sign that read, "closed: catch you next time. " he once explained to a report, "in this business to keep from going off the deep end, you need that humor." he rarely draining or smoked or carried a gun because he said, "it's bulky and tears my clothes up." he provided jail mates with a garden to grow veg tax deduction the prisoners grew their produce
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and gave any extra to local homes. the sheriff was so dedicated that he and his wife lived in a 3-bedroom apartment above the county jail. he said he figured that's where he was needed. at first the couple found the routine cell checks a little disturbing but grew fond of their living arrangement. over the course of his six decades of moral justice, he developed programs for schools. es introduced the "dare" program into clare county schools. he was elected president of the illinois sheriff's association. in recent years, sheriff justice led efforts to combat crime and vandalism on metro-linked trains. making the system safer for
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those who depend on it. that's where i came to know him. you see, this metrolink is a light-rail train service, one of the most popular things that's happened in that region. i grew up in that region i used to kid my friends that i grew up in a suburb known as east st. louis. nobody considers illinois to be part of st. loues is. it turns out that that station was a critical part of the political agreement that led to the creation of this important light-rail system. but we had a problem. east st. louis has been notoriously dangerous for years and there was a question, how in the world can we expect anybody to wait at the train station with all the dangerous street crime in east st. louis? moral justice stepped up. his department provided the protection that was needed to establish that metrolink station in my hemotown and to give people the peace of mind that if they wanted to board offer leave a train or park their car there,
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there would always be reliable law enforcement. moral justice showed the way form of us when we couldn't think of how to resolve this quandary. that's the kind of problem-solver he was. merle justice cared deeply about people. he hosted slumber in the slammer fund-raisers for a woman's crisis center, allowing people to sleep in jail exchange for a donation to the local crisis center. he once arranged a cataract surgery for a woman whose savings had been stolen. he said he looked forward to coming to work every day and wanted femme think of him as an honest, people-oriented public official. he is going to be remembered for that and so much more. merle justice made st. clare county not just a safer place but a better place. i'm honored to have known him. he was a fun person to be around
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but he took his job very, very sear justly. my wife and i send our condolences to his wife and daughters and three granddaughters and three great-grandchildren. mr. president, i ask consent the next item be placed in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i rise today to honor my friend, illinois state senator jeff shoalberg on his more than two decades of service in the illinois state assembly. he was elected to the statehouse at the age of 30 was elected to the illinois senate in 2003 where he rows to the acres of serve being as assistant majority leader. more importantly, jeff schoenberg has been a dedicated public servant to his constituents in evanston and to the people of illinois. jeff sponsored a bill that would provide better access to quality health care and give consumers the opportunity to make better
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choices for their health. he also secured more than $5 billion in federal funds for safety net hospitals like mt. sinai, mercy and holy cross. jeff schoenberg supported the illinois safe zones act which paved the way for stem cell research and insisted on greater accountability and oversight at the illinois state toll highway thomplet a father of two, he was critical to the passage of a measure to allow schools to keep and administer epinephrine following the death of a 13-year-old girl who had an allergic reaction to peanut oil while at school. jeff also understood foreign policy issues including support to divest state pension funds from companies doing business with iran and drawing t. tension to the genocide in cam body yavment he visited cambodia last month. now incoming state senator
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daniel bliss will have large shoes to fill. jeff has been inspired by the likes of congressmen and federal judge mickma. jeff's dedication to service now takes on a new service, improving the lives of children and families through an expanded role viesing the jb and mc family foundation on its philanthropic endeavors. his approach is made clear by something he said last year. "my position in the senate is only one point of entry into public service." as jeff moves into his new role, i can only say to him, thanks for being my friend and ally on so many good causes. while you may be retiring from the illinois state senate, your constituents abconstituents andt you'll never retire from working for the public good. thanks to jeff schoenberg and his family for all that they've given to our state. man, i ask that the -- mr. president, i ask that the following statement be placed in a separate part fed record.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i want to take a moment to wish mayor john redmire a happy 78th birthday and thank him as he prepares to reese fire for so many great years of public service to his town in illinois. john rednar has served as nature of ducoin. he started work as an iron worker, worked on projects in st. louis and chicago and served as site superintendent during construction of the u.s. federal penning tensionry in marion. in 1970 he moved to ducoin with his wife and kids. he began his second year in the early 1980's when he took control of the ducoin state bank converting it into a community bank. the bank stands as one of the strongest in our state and john remains the bank's chairman. but it was john rednar's work that really discovered his public service.
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in 23 years as mayor, i invested in the city's infrastructure. his legacy includes construction of the popular street overpass, a major thorough fare for travel through southern illinois; improved water and service and development of an industrial park. he managed to do all of this with a balanced budget creating new opportunities for his community even in tough times. he is a member of the illinois state police merit board and a proud democrat. but he knows there's some things that need to be done on a bipartisan basis. he's made it a habit to meet with the du spt coin board members. my wife and i have many happy memories of state fair parties at the rednar home. loretta and i have been regular visitors to the rednar r's home.
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as a labor leader, businessman, mayor, husband, fathers, john rednar has contributed enormously to ducoin, downstate illinois and our entire state and nation. while his presence is going to be missed, residents of ducoin can take comfort in knowing that john's leadership is still in their community with a bright future. in addition to three children, john and his wife are blessed with three children and five great-grandchildren. i thank john for his many years of distinguished public service. loretta and i wish he and his family all the best in retirement. we look forward to more pain --e pancakes in the years to come. i ask that the following statement be placed in a separate part of the record.
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officer if without objection. mr. durbin: chicagoans were asked to identify the one asset in the city of chicago that meant the most for them. lake michigan is a primary source of drink being water for more than 10 million people, not just in my state but in wisconsin, indiana, and michigan. it supports a million -- a multimillion-dollar fishing industry foreign the local industry, and it's beautiful. it is a recreational asset for swimming, kayaking, boating or just taking a walk along the beach. it is just a gorgeous lake. i always look forward to getting up to the chicago. we have a condo that overlooks lake michigan that i consider to be a great place to sit and just look at this beautiful lake and what happens on it whith a drinking a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening. but, unfortunately, the health of our great lake michigan is threatened every summer when a coal-burning fe ferry boat dumps
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tons of coal into the lake all summer long. meet the s.s. badger. many people have fond memories of this boat steaming from ludington, michigan. but they need to be reminded of one thing. the s.s. badger is the last coal-fired ferry in the united states and there is reason it's the last one. every year based on the estimates given to us by the company, this boat dumps 650-plus tons of coal ash into lake michigan. 600-plus tons every single year. since 1953, that's the record. well, what does that do to lake michigan? in the 59 years the s.s. badger has been in operation, it has discharged a conservative estimate of 35,400 tons of coal ash into lake michigan. that's enough to coat the entire floor of lake michigan with a
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layer of ash 2.5 inches thick. a recent article in "the chicago tribune" did a comparison of the amount of coal ash discharged from the badger to the dry cargo res residue discharged by all other vessels operating on lake michigan. here's what they found. 50 u.s. ships and 70 canadian ships on lake michigan are responsible for a combined total of 89 tons of solid waste dumped every year. that's 120 ships, 89 tons in a year. the badger by itself a responsible for almost six times more waste than these 125 vessels combined, even when using the more conservative estimate of what the badger dumps overboard during the course of a summer. yesterday the e.p.a. vessel general permit that has enabled
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the coal-fired car ferry to discharge coal ash into lake michigan expired expired. the oarcht badger insisted that the coal ash is just sand. we know better. scientists are concerned about coal boshes it contains things like arsenic, lead, and mercury. once in the lake, these chemicals enter the food chain through the water and fish. then they accumu light in our bodies and are associated with cancer, reproductive and neurological damage. we know how dangerous mercury contamination in fish is. it's time for the s.s. badger to stop adding to the problem and either clean up its operation or close it down. if the badger's owners had only recently realized that coal was a problem, it might be okay to cut them some slafnlg but the badger's owners have a long history of avoiding the steps to clean up their act. most of their vessels on the
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great lakes converted from coal to diesel seoul before the badger made its first voyage. in 2008 when dwoargs a new fuel was way overdue, the bush administration -- the bush administration granted the ferry a waiver to continue dumping coal ash through 201. that was five years too many of toxic dumping by this boat. but to make matters worse, the badger's owners still have not made any reasonable efforts to stop dumping coal ac ash in the lake. now they're attempting to persuade the e.p.a. to approve a permit to give them just five more years to take a look into this problem. u.a.e. after i came out in opposition to this five-year extension, the badger's owner asked to meet me. i agreed. he said he was applying for an e.p.a. permit to continue dumping coal ash while he looks for ways to convert the badger to run on liquefied natural gas. he wanted to make the badger, he said, the greeningest vessel on
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the greater lakes. what a great idea i thawvment but it turns out, it isn't even close tock realistic. today there are few suppliers of liquefied natural gas in the area. there are no shipyards in the united states qualified to convert passenger vessels to run on liquefied natural gas. it would take close to $50 million just to develop the infrastructure on the land needed to transport fuel to the dock for the badger -- $50 million. one day all the boats on the great lakes might be powered by natural gas. but that isn't a realistic plan right now or within the next few years. it's just another delaying tactic from the owners of the s.s. badgers. these owners were given a deadline to convert the ship's fuel or dispose of the ash in a responsible way five years ago. the badger blatantly avoided implying with these -- complying with these e.p.a. regulations. there has been an effort in the house of representatives to provide a special exemption for
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this filthy boat on lake michigan forever. they want them to declare it some sort of a national historic monument or something and say it shouldn't be governed by environmental regulation. these are congressmen whose districts are on lake michigan. i have to ask them: what do you think about the lake and its future when this boat is responsible for six times the solid waste of all the other ships that use lake michigan in commerce on an annual basis. six times. that, to me, is a horrible thing to continue. they have had plenty of time to clean up their act, and they failed. now we have to get serious. i'm hoping that the e.p.a. decides very quickly that it's time to end the coal-fired ferry tradition of the s.s. badger. this is a vessel that generates and dumps five tons of coal ash laced with mercury, lead and arsenic into lake michigan every
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single day. this great lake cannot take any more toxic dumping no matter how historic or quaint the source may be. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. sessions: mr. president? mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to consideration of h.j. res. 122 received from the house and at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.j. res. 122 establishing the date of the counting of the electoral votes for the president and vice president cast by the electors in december 2012. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the joint resolution be read three times and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements relating to the measure be placed in the record at the appropriate flays as if - place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from alabama.
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mr. sessions: mr. president, earlier today a lot of us members of the senate joined the family and friends of our great colleague who passed away earlier in the week -- mr. shelby: as they brought his body into the u.s. capitol. i rise to extend some of the tributes we have made to the memory and to the life of senator inouye. for the past 26 years here in the senate, i was privileged to serve alongside senator inouye in this chamber. i came to know him as a wise counselor, a skilled legislator, a formidable negotiator and a trusted friend. his unassailable reputation as an american hero had been forged long before any of us here had ever met him. senator inouye didn't demand respect. he commanded it. the reasons for this, i believe, are many. in 1941, he witnessed firsthand the horror at pearl harbor as a
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red cross volunteer, he cared for his fellow citizens injured in the attack then. and not long thereafter he joined the 442nd regimental combat team. he was determined to serve his country despite the fact that he, like all japanese americans had been deemed to be an illegal alien when the u.s. declared war on japan. as a young military officer in 1945, daniel inouye led his unit in a successful attack against german fortifications in northern italy. the valor, courage, selflessness and determination that he displayed during the battle are the stuff of legend. and this would later earn him the congressional medal of honor. during this attack, he sustained serious permanent injuries that served as a constant reminder of
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his sacrifice for our country. senator inouye began his political career as a member of a wise territorial house of representatives -- as a member of hawaii's territorial house of representatives in 1954. almost immediately his colleagues tapped him as the majority leader of that body. his tremendous leadership ability was already apparent then. he then ascended to the territorial senate in 1958 and became hawaii's first u.s. congressman with the tkpwrafpbgt statehood in 19 -- granting of statehood in 1959. three years later he became a member of the u.s. senate elected a staggering nine consecutive terms, continuing to serve until his death this week. i believe his effectiveness as a senator and his devotion to his state that no challenger ever mounted a serious threat for his seat.
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through his hard work in the u.s. senate, senator inouye helped ensure a wise economy and people prosper and as a member and later chairman of the appropriations committee, senator inouye skillfully secured infrastructure, national security, natural resources, education, cultural and job training and other projects for his state. as a member of the appropriations committee where i served with him, i hrefrbd -- learned valuable lessons by observing senator inouye over the years. he understood the art of the deal, operating out of mutual respect toward shared interest. and i can't recall a time when he didn't deliver for the people of hawaii. but while he never lost focus on the interest of his state, he also maintained eternal vigilance on matters of national security. as a war hero, his attention to veterans affairs and military needs was unsurpassed in this
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body. in addition, he served as the first chairman of the select committee on intelligence and as a former chairman of this committee, i can tell you i was honored to follow the rigorous oversight example he set. by the time his career ended, senator inouye had become the second-longest serving senator in u.s. history. his list of accomplishments and honors is seemingly unending. in fact, it is among the most impressive compiled by any who ever set foot in this chamber. senator inouye never talked about any of this. he wasn't brash or boastful or domineering. rather, he carried himself with quiet reserve and firm resolve. senator inouye's life story speaks for itself and demonstrates a faith in and a devotion to our country second to none. he was one of the most decent and inspiring people i've ever known, and i'm proud to have
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served in the u.s. senate with this great man and to have called him a friend. i offer my deepest condolences to his wife and family during this difficult time. and i now yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. moran: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i speak on the senate floor as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you. the senate, of which i'm a new member of, was at one time called the world's greatest deliberative body. and its rules have remained largely unchanged since the origin of the senate. this chamber's distinguishing attribute has undoubtedly been its right of unlimited debate, and its greatest protections are the rules put in place to defend that right to debate.
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i'm worried about the talk now about destroying any senator's ability to filibuster, to delay consideration of a bill, because it's a fundamental right of all senators to express their opposition to legislation even when that senator stands alone, when you're the only one that opposes that legislation. this is an important right in protecting a senator's right to object and a senator's right to represent his own -- his or her own constituency. it tells me that the desire to curb this debate in the senate doesn't really come from a failure of the senate's rules, but rather a desire by some to see that an agenda can be pushed through by ignoring that minority right, by overriding the objections of an individual senator on behalf of his or her constituents. the rules of the united states senate should not be targeted for change until we look at what
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the problems are in the way that we conduct our business currently. for so long -- again, i've only been here two years. but for the two years i've been here, it seems to me that often the majority has obstructed the ideal of unlimited debate and put undue stress on the rules of our chamber. the practice of the majority party has prevented me and my colleagues from contributing to the legislative process in several ways. rather than encourage debate and compromise by welcoming amendments, often the tree has what we call here, been filled. or the way we'd say it in kansas, we'd fill up the opportunities for amendments with certain amendments and then preclude any other amendment from being considered. that being amendments from the rest of us. in addition to that, the majority leader has filed cloture more than 100 times on the very day that the measure was first raised on the senate floor, which basically ends
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debate on that day. we get compromise whenever everyone, the majority and minority, have the opportunity to present their points of view. and then we sit down to try to figure out the differences, how we can make things work among ourselves. we've seen rule 14 used to bypass committee work nearly 70 times in the last six years. i'm honored to serve on a long list of committees in the united states senate and i attend many committee meetings. we meet and have hearings, and we listen to our constituents. we listen to the experts and try to reach a conclusion as to what's best in a piece of legislation. when that process is bypassed we lose that opportunity to gain from that insight and in so many instances the committee process -- and a member of the senate appropriations committee, the example of having no bills and no budget. the banking committee in which we have a lot of hearings but very few markups.
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i think it undermines the ability for each of of us to do our jobs on behalf of americans. i think we've been forced away from the thing that's most valuable here: discussions. not that any of us get our own way. that's not the nature of this place. it's not the nature of america. but we each have our own voice. and by being able to express ourselves, we have the opportunity to flesh out the best ideas and ultimately to require people to come together and reach an agreement, that word that sometimes is not said often enough: a compromise. i recognize this, as a member of the united states senate representing the state of kansas. i consider my state often in the minority. we're very rural. the issues we care about are different than places in the rest of the country. i represent a very small population and many of my colleagues represent large urban and suburban locations with large populations.
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representing the minority, i think my ability to represent that minority is diminished in the absence of some rules. i recognize i don't always have the right answer to every question. i have great respect for everyone's opinion. i was never ordained by god to have all the answers to every problem. but i think we find that by having the respect and listening to others and to sort out what we think is the best of our ideas and the best of other ideas to see that good things happen on behalf of america. we need to make certain that republicans and democrats have the opportunity to express those opinions and then come together. we need to make certain that the legislative process works in the committee and we need to make certain that we are not precluded from standing here day after day in opposition to legislation that we believe is bad for america. it is the senate that has the opportunity to keep bad things from happening. and, again, i worry that as a result of the lack of function
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of the senate over the last years that we're going to make dramatic changes in rules that change the nature of this body, who we are and what we can accomplish, what our purpose is. so we need to work together, no doubt about it. but the idea of changing the rules, in my view, diminishes the need to do so. our constituents expect us to represent them and their best interests, and that means that we have the right, the necessity of participating in the legislative process. i owe that to kansas. i owe them nothing less. without the right to use the filibuster, to stop consideration of a bill until all ideas, all issues are heard, we risk the loss of that dissenting voice for minority. no matter what party may be in power. previous members of the senate have understood the importance of protecting the minority's rights and have spoken out in defense of unlimited debate that
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exists in the senate today. and i worry that the senate is becoming a place different, as i studied history, there was always the voice of the institution, the senator who had been here for a long time, the collective wisdom that, yes, we're in the minority now, or we're in the majority now, but someday it's going to be the reverse and we want the rules to apply no matter what position that we're in. it seems to me in days gone past, there would have been members of the senate who would speak out regardless of whether they were a democrat or a republican for the institution of the senate and what it means to the american people and what it means in the constitution of the united states. the late senator byrd once said about the design of the senate, he said this, "the senate was intended to be a forum for open and free debate and for the protection of political minorities. long the senate retains the power to amend and the -- as long as the senate retains the power to amend and the power of unlimited debate, the liberties of the people will remain secure." when senator biden, our vice president, was a senator, part of this chamber, he said, in
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defense of the filibuster, "at its core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill, it's about compromise and moderation." in 2005, when republicans controlled the senate and our president, president obama, was then a senator, he said, "if the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting and bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse." i think this statement applies today. i'm tired of the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock. the american people do not want to see even more partisanship bickering in washington, d.c. they want us to work together and solve our nation's problems. they want us to get things done. preserving the rules of the senate is not a partisan issue but it's about protecting the nature of the senate and the rights of the minority. without the ability to compromise or debate on the floor of the senate, i fear that the greatest deliberative body will drastically be changed and changed for the worse.
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the original design of the senate enabled each senator to be equal to one another no matter the party label and each had the right to protest using the filibuster. but if we choose to silence the senators in the minority now for the sake of political expediency, to lower the number of votes -- the lower the number of votes for a bill to pass without dissented, the then we k changing the very nature of the senate. i say this as a former member of the house of representatives. i'm accustomed for 14 years of having these words spoken "i yield to the gentleman from kansas 60 seconds." the senate is different than the house. we were entitled to -- we are entitled to more than 60 seconds of being able to speak in support or in opposition to issues before the senate. and if that filibuster were to be destroyed and if the last protection of the rights of the minority were to be disregarded, then the senate would become substantially no different than the house. it would be marked by limited debate, where the majority runs against the basic nature of the senate rules based upon population. when the senate -- when the
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republicans were in control of the senate in 2005, senator reid, our majority leader, said this, "the threat to change the senate rules is a raw abuse of power and will destroy the very checks and balances our founding fathers put in place to prevent absolute power by any one branch of government. it is mire belief that the senate still -- it is my belief that the senate still exists today in the form that the framers intended and that we must put a stop to the raw abuse of power. the senate represents the embodiment of freedom of speech and we should encounter the full exercise of our hard-won freedoms and unlimited debate. this tradition stands as testament to the sacrifices of generations of early americans and americans throughout the history of our country, that this freedom is one that will certainly be fought for in this congress and the next. madam president, i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johnson: madam president, i rise today to pay tribute to a man who has been generous with his time, his treasure and his heart to his friends, his family, the state of wisconsin and to america. senator herb kohl. america and wisconsin have always been defined by immigrants arriving in this country seeking freedom, opportunity and a better life for themselves and their families. such was the case with senator kohl's father max. an immigrant from poland, his mother mary an immigrant from russia. their family's story was just one among the many millions of stories of fulfillment of the american dream.
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max and mary's son herb attended washington high school in the sherman park neighborhood of milwaukee. he graduated from the university of wisconsin-madison in 1956 and went on to earn an m.b.a. from harvard business school in 1958. senator kohl's service to his country started at a young age. he enlisted in the u.s. army reserve after receiving his m.b.a. and served in the military for six years. after his military service, he began contributing to our nation, not in government but in the private sector. during the 1970's, he managed his family's well-known retail businesses. the stores built by the kohl family remain the legacy that all of wisconsin respects and appreciates.
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when wisconsin's nba team, the milwaukee bucks, was considering moving out of the state for financial reasons, citizen kohl stepped in and purchased the franchise. he prevented the team from leaving and preserved professional basketball as an integral part of wisconsin's strong sports tradition. suffice it to say, citizen kohl has established himself as a very successful member of this nation's business community. but he didn't hoard his financial success, he shared it. he shared it generously. senator kohl's philanthropy was widespread, but he particularly seemed to enjoy directing his generosity to helping wisconsin students and educators. in 1990, he established the herb kohl educational foundation achievement award program.
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this program provides a total of 400,000 to hundreds of students, teachers and schools throughout the state of wisconsin each and every year. in 1995, senator kohl continued his generosity to education and sports in our state by donating $25 million to the university of wisconsin-madison for a new sports arena. the kohl center, as it is now known, is the home for the school's basketball and hockey teams. senator kohl was first elected in 1988, and even though his duties required him to spend time in washington, his heart has always been with the people of wisconsin. for the past 24 years, he has maintained a strong passion for wisconsin's children, seniors, farmers and manufacturers. a man whose life has been distinguished by generosity.
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it is worth noting that his final speech on the floor of the senate was not a laundry list of his many accomplishments. instead, it was a short, heartfelt speech of gratitude to those who made him the generous man he is today, those he served with and those he represented in the united states senate for four consecutive terms. now it is our turn to thank senator kohl for the honorable 24 years that he has served his state and this nation. during his first election, the slogan of senator kohl's campaign was nobody's senator but yours. there can be no doubt in anyone's mind that he has lived up to that promise each and every day. so on behalf of all the citizens of wisconsin, i would like to thank senator herb kohl for his generous spirit and his many years of service to wisconsin and america.
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with that, madam president, i yield the floor and note an absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: madam president, i would ask that the calling of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reed: thank you, madam president. at this time i would like to take a few minutes to salute my colleagues who are retiring at the end of this year at the conclusion of the 112th congress -- daniel akaka of hawaii, jeff bingaman of new mexico, scott brown of massachusetts, kent conrad of north dakota, jim demint of south carolina, kay bailey hutchison of texas, herb kohl of
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wisconsin, jon kyl of arizona, joseph lieberman of connecticut, richard lugar of indiana, ben nelson of nebraska, olympia snowe of maine, and jim webb of virginia. they have all worked ceaselessly to give their constituents the best representation and give the country the benefit of their views, their wisdom and their experiences. they're men and women who are committed to the nation and they have every day in different ways contributed to this senate and to our great country. and i want to thank them personally for their service and in so many cases their personal kindness to me. to listen to my points and to -- together hopefully serve this senate and this nation in a more positive and progressive way. in particular let me say a few words about some of the members
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who i had the privilege to work with very closely. senator daniel akaka, had who like his colleague, the late and reverdict daniel inouye, proudly served our nation during world war ii. i am stepping into the huge shoes of dan akaka as cochair of the army caucus. from one soldier to another i salute him. he's also been an extraordinarily forceful advocate not just for active duty personnel but for veterans and, of course, the men and women of his beloved hawaii. jeff bingaman has distinguished himself through his work on the energy and natural resources committee to improve our energy policy and energy efficiency. he has the vision and the knowledge which he has displayed so many times to deal with the difficult issues that face it's with respect to the use, the appropriate use of energy. he's also focused on some of the greatest challenges facing our
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educational system, including presenting dropouts and the use of education technology. scott brown drew on his use in the national guard to advocate for our service members. i'm pleased we were oibl able to create the office of the office of affairs at the consumer protection bureau. i've had the honor of serving with kay bailey hutchison. joe lieberman and i have worked many, many hours to protect the submarine industrial base that's crucial not only to our strategic posture but also to our local economies. and he's done it with great vision and great energy and i thank him for that. richard lugar is one of the most decent and thoughtful individuals ever to serve in this body. we will miss his wisdom and his advice particularly on nuclear nonproproliferation and arms control. i'm pleased to have joined him
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in so many other issues and he leaves an extraordinary mark on this institution. and i've also had the privilege to work closely with another member of this body, my colleague and friend, olympia snowe of maine, her willingness to reach across the bipartisan divide, to advance legislation to benefit the nation and the senate and her state of maine is in my view legendary. i'm pleased to work with her when it came to support your our feshermen and lobstermen, critical to our local economies. we worked together closely on a host of issues including supporting investments in liheap and our nation's libraries. and jim webb, a decorated combat veteran, someone whose love for this nation was manifested very early as he led marines in combat in vietnam and his are extraordinary courage is only matched by his quiet demeanor and his calm sense of confidence that projects outward
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in every different capacity. of course, he's taken it upon himself to make sure we don't forget our veterans. he was the architect of the post-9/11 g.i. bill and in doing so he has enriched the lives of so many who were willing to risk their lives for this nation and i again salute him for all he's done. kent conrad is extraordinary budget chairman. no one knows more about the intricacies of the budget and no one brings to that very difficult debate an innate sense of fairps and decency, no one more than kent conrad. i could go on with all of my colleagues thanking them for their friendship, their calm rawdy ri and their commitment to the senate. they have left an extraordinary legacy. now it is our responsibility to carry on in different ways and i hope we measure up to what they have done. and if we do, then we can go forward confidently.
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with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. thank you very much. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: are we out of a quorum call right now? the presiding officer: we are not in a quorum call. the presiding officer: thank you, madam president. madam president, i would like to say a few words about my friend, joe lieberman, the gentleman from connecticut. shortly after i arrived in the senate, senator lieberman was april signed to serve as my mentor. someone from the other side of the aisle who would be a source of wisdom and guidance as i made my way in my first term in the senate. i considered myself extremely fortunate that he agreed to mentor me. we are both from new england, we both had the privilege of serving our state as attorney general and have a deep respect for the rule of law, and we are
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both deeply concerned about issues impacting the security of our country. over the last two years, i have been able to work with senator lieberman more closely, and i have personally seen his character, his courage, and his conviction. both in tone and in substance, senator lieberman has been one of the most respected and effective statesmen in the history of this institution. someone who transcended politics to stand up for what he believed in and what he believed was right on behalf of our country. senator lieberman understands that neither party has a monopoly on good ideas, and that the american people expect members of both parties to work together to get things done on behalf of our country. senator lieberman understands that our children will not ask
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us whether we were democrats or republicans, and how good we were at that, at being a member of a party. they will ask us whether we were willing to make the tough decisions necessary to ensure that they continue to enjoy the prosperity and freedom in the greatest country on earth. what i admire about my friend, joe lieberman, is that he is someone who always put country first, above all else. for senator lieberman, this has been especially true in the area of national security and homeland security. as our nation has encouraged -- encountered difficult economic headwinds at home, over $16 trillion in debt, there have been members of both parties who have argued for excessive cuts to our military and that we
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disengage from the rest of the world. yet in the great traditions of president truman, kennedy, and reagan, senator lieberman has made the compelling case that the united states best promotes its values and protects its citizens when we remain engaged around the world, maintain the military strength, and the strength of our military having the best military in the world, and having had the chance to work with senator lieberman on the senate armed services committee, his commitment to our men and women in uniform has been inspiring. he has shown a deep commitment to make sure that they have the best equipment that they need, and that we remain the strongest military in the world and that when our soldier come home, they receive the support that they need. he has been such an amazing advocate for the military and their families.
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i also appreciate that like winston churchill, senator lieberman understands the value of alliances between democracies and has spoken with moral clarity regarding the enemies of freedom. he hasn't hesitated to call terrorism an evil by its name, and to speak out for dissidents and freedom fighters around the world. i will never forget a trip that i had the privilege of taking with him to asia where we had the opportunity to meet individuals who are imprisoned, and they spoke with tears in their eyes of the work that senator lieberman and senator mccain and others had done to speak up on their behalf. senator lieberman has spoken out for those who have been oppressed around the world time and time and again, and he has
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left his legacy on this institution in making sure that america stands up for our values and for people arnold the world -- around the world who are struggling for basic human rights and freedom. in this chamber, he will also, of course, be remembered for the incredible important work that he did as a strong and resolute member of the senate armed services committee, but also as the chairman of the homeland security and government affairs committee. he helped to lead the federal government's response to september 11 to those horrible attacks on our nation and our country, and every american is safer because of the work that joe lieberman did as chairman of that committee and the work that he did on the senate armed services committee in this body and the work that i know that he will continue to do when he leaves the senate. my friend, joe lieberman,
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represents the very best of public service. he has stood firm for freedom, international engagement, and american military strength. he will be remembered among members of this body not only for his accomplishments but for the way that he has conducted himself, always a gentleman, he has conducted himself with great decency, civility, and humility. at a time when our country faces great challenges, his quiet and effective leadership and commitment to working across party lines will be sorely missed in this body. he will certainly continue to serve as a model for all of us who remain serving in the senate, and i know that in future endeavors i will certainly seek him out to seek his advice and counsel as we
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face great challenges, not only here at home but also in terms of our military and the role that america plays in the world. we all admire his leadership here, and it has been a true privilege for me to have had him mentor me the last two years. i have learned so much from him, and, again, i think that he serves as a model public servant, of what it means to be committed to doing the right thing for your country. thank you, madam president. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cantwell: thank you, mr. president. i rise to salute my colleague, senator dan inouye, and remember him for his freight service to our country. like so many of my colleagues, i
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come down to the floor with a great deal of sadness but also admiration for the incredible life that danny inouye led. he certainly was a giant among senators and the work that he did, everything from investigating watergate to fighting for native hawaiian rights to everything he did in the united states every day, will be remembered as a man who fought for just a moment when i think about danny inouye and the mentoring that he has done for me and my colleague, senator murray, and for the state of washington, i can tell you he will be sorely missed. you know, we know something about long-term senators in the state of washington and certainly danny inouye and scoop and maggie were all friends. he was also a friend to washington state. he forged a great relationship with scoop and maggie that started when scoop jackson actually championed statehood for hawaii, starting as early as the late 1940's. and he played a key role in supporting it and passing it into the hawaii statehood act.
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and that is something that danny inouye was so appreciative of and they forged a great relationship. and then senator inouye and senator magnuson were great friends and mentors and i had the opportunity many, many years ago to hear both of them at senator magnuson's house in seattle reminisce about their days together, and some of those stories i can share on the floor and some i couldn't. but they were longtime friends. and the one story that is written about in warren magnuson's biography by shelby scates is a story about how the two of them, both appropriators, when mount saint helen's grew up, senator magnuson went to senator inouye and said, we need about a billion dollars for the cleanup of mount saint helen's. if you can manly in 198 -- imagine in 1980 what a tremendous amount of money that was. senator inouye's response was, senator magnuson, we have
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volcanos blowing up all the time in hawaii and we never get a dime. and senator magnuson's response was, just wait, it will be your turn soon. so these are two individuals that forged a relationship, and along with jackson, were some of the big giants of our day in the united states senate. and we certainly in the state of washington benefited greatly from senator inouye's incredible help and support. i know that he traveled to our state many times at my request and participated in many different events, but patrol one of the most important things that he did for us in the state of washington was the puellab land claim settlement and how senator inouye led the fight, as the chairman of the indian affairs committee, to make sure that the right thing was done. together with congressman norm dicks, we had a very difficult situation. the puellab tribe, the port and city of tacoma and others all had a difficult dispute going on. the end result was the second largest native american land
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claim settlement in u.s. history. and the deal led to tremendous economic growth for the tribe, for the port, and for the surrounding communities. senator inouye, as i said, was the chairman of the select committee on indian affairs in 1980 when the puelab tribe successfully sued to assert its claim for land around its reservation, and this land included the port of tacoma, many parts of downtown tacoma, the towns of fife and puelab. and because of his strong commitment to native american rights, the puelab trusted senator inouye to serve as an intermediary between the parties involved in the negotiations and to try to resolve this dispute. he made around a dozen trips to washington state at key moments of this negotiations. if you can imagine a senator who has to represent his state, be a leader on the appropriations committee, would spend so much time on one particular dispute. during one session at a tacoma
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hotel, senator inouye described his role as -- quote -- "messenger boy" running between tribal negotiators on the second floor and non-indian negotiators on the second floor. by his own estimate, he shuttles between those two floors 21 times. his tireless commitment helped work and keep the negotiations moving along and finally in 198 8 was struck and the settlement was passed into law in 1989. the tribe received $162 million that included 200 acres of disputed land. of this total, $77 million were federal funds which senator inowe wade and senator ditches -- and congressman dix worked on. when senator inouye was asked about the federal governmentst contribution, he replied, "i got my training from warren magnuson." for the pualap tribe, the results have been dramatic. the tribe is today one of the
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largest employers in pierce county and is moving forward with its port development and partnership. and the puallaps have become a leader in areas like protecting natural resources, providing law enforcement, and improving health care. as for the port of tacoma, their results have been impressive as well. with the settlement, the port was able to tear down the blair bridge and open up the waterways. removing the uncertainty offed landownership and relocated highway 509, lots of new development occurred. these improvements provided 43,000 jobs in pierce county, and the volume of cargo at the port has nearly doubled, growing from 782,000 containers in 1988 to nearly 1.5 million containers in 2011. now the port handles more containers than its friendly
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rival to the north the port of seattle, something they very much take with great pride. so senator inouye stood with washingtonians on an issue that was so important to us and has led to so much growth and economic development but only his leadership provided the necessary oversight to navigate this thorny issue. but he also has helped us on many other issues -- protecting salmon and our other fisheries, fighting for native americans, supporting strong defense and veterans issues. he certainly will be remembered in the northwest as a true friend. our nation's veterans had no greater friend than senator inouye, and when it came time to pass national legislation recognizing the japanese-american veterans contribution to our country during world war ii, he let others take the lead, knowing that he himself would also be an honorary recipient of this award. and during a ceremony in november 20001 with the other nisei veterans by his side,
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senator inouye accepted the congressional gold medal on behalf of the 100t00th00th infay battalion and the military intelligence service. in his remarks, senator inouye said -- quote -- "70 years ago we were enemy aliens, but today this great nation honors us in this special ceremony." i can tell you, because there were many nisei veterans from the pacific northwest who traveled here to our nation's capital to participate in that event, their families were so honored to be there with their parents and to honor them in this great ceremony. it would not have happened if it had not been for senator inouye's incredible leadership. he also successfully fought to honor the veterans who served the commonwealth army of the philippines on the side of the united states during world war ii. because of a law passed in 1946,
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their service was not recognized. they were denied access to health care, given only half of the disability and death compensation of other u.s. veterans, so senator inouye changed that. over the years he secured nearly $200 million in compensation for filipino veterans, and he fought to grant filipino veterans the same access to u.s. veterans and v.a. hospitals as are other veterans. senator inouye's strong sense of honor and justice drove him to fight for the recognition of these veteran services. he was fond of saying, quote, "justice is just a matter of continuing education." end quote. and for that reason, he also made sure that injustices endured by u.s. citizens and permanent residents of japanese an ssess century during world war ii were never forgotten. he led passage of the civil liberties act of 188, which acknowledged -- 1988, which acknowledged their forced
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internment and provided compensation for those surviving detainees. senator inouye also understood that recognizing and honoring the services of these veterans meant helping them prosper as they entered civilian life. i was proud to work with senator inouye and my colleague senator murray on th on an act to hire veterans. back in april of this year senator inouye and i visited a company in seattle, vecca, who hire primarily veterans, and i tell you they were so happy to meet him. they were so exsided to -- excited to see one of our nation's true heroes and honor him by talking about the services they were trying to give back to our country. from the battlefields of world war i to the congresworldwar iia
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giant of a statesman. not just in hawaii but the state of washington. a few years ago i know senator inway was visiting some underprivileged children. one of the students he met said "i feel like i met one of the most important people in the world. requestings "i couldn't agree more. senator inouye's legacy and impact cannot be overstated. he was an yowled-school senator that was always courteous, respectful to his colleagues no matter what the circumstances, and he will not be forgotten. i join in our nation in praying for his wife irene, his son ken and daughter-in-law jessica, his step daughter general i.f.r. and granddaughter maggie. i hope they understand how much we appreciate them sharing him with us. and all that he did. his service to our country will not be forgotten and it certainly will be impossible to match. i thank the president, and i yield the floor.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. grassley: i am not sure whether there is a quorum call or not. the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. mr. grassley: i would like to speak to an amendment to the pending bill, an amendment i won't be able to offer because i understand the majority filled the amendment tree so that we cannot make amendments pending at this time. so i'd like to take some time, though, to inform members about the importance of my amendment and why it ought to be included. i think it's simply about smart government. it's about ensuring that taxpayers' dollars are spent
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wisely while at the same time guaranteeing federal law enforcement agencies that face challenges following hurricane sandy have the resources that they need to get the job done. on december 7, the white house office of management and budget transmitted a legislative proposal to congress seeking supplemental appropriations for disaster mitigation relating to hurricane sandy. by all accounts, this action was normal response to the federal disaster and one that nearly all members have supported in various disasters that have occurred in our home states. however, this request was unusual in several respects. for example, a large portion of the funds included in the president's request are
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unrelated or at least extremely remote to the damage caused by the storm. this includes funding for fisheries in alaska, funding for increased amtrak capacity and funding to be spent years into the future. further, the funding requests sent out by the president does not include any recommendations whatsoever for offsetting the spending. so long story short, this request means more deficit spending. there is one part of the request that causes me particular concern, and then the purposes of my amendment, because it relates to my work as ranking member of the committee on judiciariary. in the president's request, there are specific line items for repairing and replacing federal vehicles damaged by
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hurricane sandy. specifically, the justice department requested $4 million for the federal bureau of investigation, $1 million for the d.e.a. -- drug enforcement agency, $230,000 for the bureau of alcohol, firearms and explosives, and $20,000 for the vehicle of the department of justice inspector general. among other things, these funds are largely to repair and replace federal vehicles damaged by water from the storm. the department of homeland security requested $300,000 for the secret service, $855,000 for immigration and customs enforcement. again, this funding is largely for repairing or replacing damaged motor vehicles. the president requested this funding in an effort to replace
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these damaged vehicles. he cited operational use of these vehicles by law enforcement agencies as a reason they need to be replaced. now, i understand the vehicles are a very important part of the work of these federal law enforcement agencies and the work they undertake and are critical for ongoing operations in the field. however, i am concerned about simply providing funding for replacement vehicles in the field because of the way the government operates. this funding will not reach the agencies immediately. even when it does, it will take time for replacement vehicles to be located, purchased and prepared for use. but given that this is an emergency spending bill, we can assume that these agencies need vehicles for immediate operation al use. as such, my amendment seeks to
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place these vehicles into the hands of the agents in the field as fast as possible. instead of simply providing funding, my amendment requires that within seven days, the department of justice and department of homeland security identify and relocate vehicles based at the washington, d.c., headquarters of the department of justice and department of homeland security that are used for nonoperational purposes. the vehicles identified will then be used to replace those damaged by hurricane sandy that are used by the f.b.i., d.e.a., a.t.f., i.c.e. and the secret service. the amendment limits the funding provided for these vehicle purchases until a report is produced to congress identifying the vehicle relocations. i think it's a very good government amendment and one that actually achieves the goal
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of replacing operational vehicles used by federal law enforcement actually faster than in the underlying bill. since we are told this funding is absolutely necessary for these agencies, so necessary as to warrant emergency funding that is not offset with spending reductions, this amendment actually improves the bill by getting vehicles to law enforcement immediately. now, the agencies who will likely oppose this will argue that this is unnecessary and that we should just write a check for the new cars. well, that's very -- that's a very ridiculous position to take. if this is an emergency, as we have been told, and, you know, you see the damage on television all the time so you know there is a purpose for the underlying bill, but if this is an emergency for these vehicles, these agencies can spare some of
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the vehicles they have sitting around at their headquarters for nonoperational purposes. these vehicles are given to employees in offices such as legislative affairs, budget facility managers and chief information officers and chief financial officers that may get cars to drive to and from work. many may even sit unused for periods of time. those are not operational needs. this last year, there was an article in "the wall street journal" titled -- quote -- "free ride ends for marshals," which addressed how 100 headquarter employees of the u.s. marshal's service returned government-owned vehicles to the motor pool instead of using them to commute to and from work.
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the article described how in recent years the proliferation of take-home vehicles for headquarter employees had exploded. while the article focused on reducing take-home cars at the marshall's service, it is clear that the same argument can be made for reducing take-home cars at other agencies. in the case of this supplemental, if this is actually an emergency worthy of millions of taxpayers' dollars, these agencies can inconvenience nonoperational personnel at headquarters to get these vehicles out to the fields and end the fringe benefits. in fact, according to inventory numbers provided to the appropriations committee, the justice department has 3,225 vehicles at washington, d.c.,
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headquarters of their agency alone. surely the justice department can find a handful of vehicles out of these 3,225 vehicles that could be sent to the fields to replace the damaged vehicles and get it done a heck of a lot faster than appropriating this money and going through a process that won't get it out there for a longer time. on top of that, my amendment would allow the funds to replace these nonoperational vehicles after they are relocated, so my amendment would at most create a very small inconvenience for these nonoperational staff for a short time. this amendment makes sense by modifying a request that quite honestly doesn't make a lot of sense. if this is an emergency, as we're told, the agency should have no problem doing what my amendment asks. we owe it to the american
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taxpayer to spend their tax dollars wisely. this amendment doesn't go as far as we could, which would be to strike the provision outright. instead, it gives the administration the benefit of the doubt that this is a true emergency and that these cars are needed. however, it forces the agencies to make a decision and temporarily inconvenience a few employees here in washington, d.c., while ensuring the operational law enforcement elements in the field have the equipment they need. so i urge my colleagues to support a commonsense good government amendment, and i hope it can be considered somewhere along the line before we pass this final legislation. if i can say just a few words on the issue as a whole, i would like to take that opportunity.
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there is no doubt in my mind that every dollar that sandy victims and local communities and infrastructure are entitled to if it comes under existing law they ought to have. our country is in the -- in the pearl is always having disasters. that's a foregone conclusion. throughout any years, there is always disasters to appropriate money for. then on a specific disaster, you know, these problems go on for years after the money is appropriated, and it's years before some of the money is spent. all i have got to do is look and see at rapids, iowa, how they are fighting with fema after the 2008 flood to get some money as an example.
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so let's just understand in this body so that there's no mistake that new york and surrounding areas will get their money because the principle of fema money and probably other disaster money as well is simply this -- at the beginning of a year, you have some money in fema, but you never know what the disasters are going to be throughout the next 12 months. but when a disaster is declared, there is money there to flow, and when that disaster money runs out, as far as i know, it's always been replaced. whether you have an earthquake in california or you have a hurricane in the gulf of mexico
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or you have drought in the midwest like we have or texas like we have or you have tornadoes like we have in the midwest, and sandy as the most recent example. as far as i know, there has never been any dispute under the laws at that time, and those laws don't change very often. they -- they do get the money out to the people that need it, and then when that fund goes dry, it is replenished by congress. now, unless somebody is seeking money other -- in some way other than other disasters that have been taken care of in this particular instance -- and i don't know that they are other than what's been pointed out that ought to be done through th